Drone Law Blog


California Drone Laws (2017)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Traveling? Click here to see other US drone laws by state.

Current as of February 21, 2017

 

Caltrans announced their policy here.

 

California Civil Code 43.101.  

(a) An emergency responder shall not be liable for any damage to an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system, if that damage was caused while the emergency responder was providing, and the unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system was interfering with, the operation, support, or enabling of the emergency services listed in Section 853 of the Government Code.

(b)

(1) For purposes of this section, “emergency responder” means either of the following, if acting within the scope of authority implicitly or expressly provided by a local public entity or a public employee of a local public entity to provide emergency services:

(A) A paid or an unpaid volunteer.

(B) A private entity.

(2) All of the following terms shall have the same meaning as the terms as used in Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 853) of Part 2 of Division 3.6 of Title 1 of the Government Code:

(A) Local public entity.

(B) Public employee of a local public entity.

(C) Unmanned aircraft.

(D) Unmanned aircraft system.

California Civil Code 1708.8.  

(a) A person is liable for physical invasion of privacy when the person knowingly enters onto the land or into the airspace above the land of another person without permission or otherwise commits a trespass in order to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff engaging in a private, personal, or familial activity and the invasion occurs in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person.

(b) A person is liable for constructive invasion of privacy when the person attempts to capture, in a manner that is offensive to a reasonable person, any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff engaging in a private, personal, or familial activity, through the use of any device, regardless of whether there is a physical trespass, if this image, sound recording, or other physical impression could not have been achieved without a trespass unless the device was used.

(c) An assault or false imprisonment committed with the intent to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of the plaintiff is subject to subdivisions (d), (e), and (h).

(d) A person who commits any act described in subdivision (a), (b), or (c) is liable for up to three times the amount of any general and special damages that are proximately caused by the violation of this section. This person may also be liable for punitive damages, subject to proof according to Section 3294. If the plaintiff proves that the invasion of privacy was committed for a commercial purpose, the person shall also be subject to disgorgement to the plaintiff of any proceeds or other consideration obtained as a result of the violation of this section. A person who comes within the description of this subdivision is also subject to a civil fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

(e) A person who directs, solicits, actually induces, or actually causes another person, regardless of whether there is an employer-employee relationship, to violate any provision of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) is liable for any general, special, and consequential damages resulting from each said violation. In addition, the person that directs, solicits, actually induces, or actually causes another person, regardless of whether there is an employer-employee relationship, to violate this section shall be liable for punitive damages to the extent that an employer would be subject to punitive damages pursuant to subdivision (b) of Section 3294. A person who comes within the description of this subdivision is also subject to a civil fine of not less than five thousand dollars ($5,000) and not more than fifty thousand dollars ($50,000).

(f)

(1) The transmission, publication, broadcast, sale, offer for sale, or other use of any visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) shall not constitute a violation of this section unless the person, in the first transaction following the taking or capture of the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression, publicly transmitted, published, broadcast, sold, or offered for sale the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression with actual knowledge that it was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c), and provided compensation, consideration, or remuneration, monetary or otherwise, for the rights to the unlawfully obtained visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression.

(2) For the purposes of paragraph (1), “actual knowledge” means actual awareness, understanding, and recognition, obtained prior to the time at which the person purchased or acquired the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression, that the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c). The plaintiff shall establish actual knowledge by clear and convincing evidence.

(3) Any person that publicly transmits, publishes, broadcasts, sells, or offers for sale, in any form, medium, format, or work, a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that was previously publicly transmitted, published, broadcast, sold, or offered for sale by another person, is exempt from liability under this section.

(4) If a person’s first public transmission, publication, broadcast, or sale or offer for sale of a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that was taken or captured in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) does not constitute a violation of this section, that person’s subsequent public transmission, publication, broadcast, sale, or offer for sale, in any form, medium, format, or work, of the visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression, does not constitute a violation of this section.

(5) This section applies only to a visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression that is captured or taken in California in violation of subdivision (a), (b), or (c) after January 1, 2010, and shall not apply to any visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression taken or captured outside of California.

(6) Nothing in this subdivision shall be construed to impair or limit a special motion to strike pursuant to Section 425.16, 425.17, or 425.18 of the Code of Civil Procedure.

(7) This section shall not be construed to limit all other rights or remedies of the plaintiff in law or equity, including, but not limited to, the publication of private facts.

(g) This section shall not be construed to impair or limit any otherwise lawful activities of law enforcement personnel or employees of governmental agencies or other entities, either public or private, who, in the course and scope of their employment, and supported by an articulable suspicion, attempt to capture any type of visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression of a person during an investigation, surveillance, or monitoring of any conduct to obtain evidence of suspected illegal activity or other misconduct, the suspected violation of any administrative rule or regulation, a suspected fraudulent conduct, or any activity involving a violation of law or business practices or conduct of public officials adversely affecting the public welfare, health, or safety.

(h) In any action pursuant to this section, the court may grant equitable relief, including, but not limited to, an injunction and restraining order against further violations of subdivision (a), (b), or (c).

(i) The rights and remedies provided in this section are cumulative and in addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law.

(j) It is not a defense to a violation of this section that no image, recording, or physical impression was captured or sold.

(k) For the purposes of this section, “for a commercial purpose” means any act done with the expectation of a sale, financial gain, or other consideration. A visual image, sound recording, or other physical impression shall not be found to have been, or intended to have been, captured for a commercial purpose unless it is intended to be, or was in fact, sold, published, or transmitted.

(l)

(1) For the purposes of this section, “private, personal, and familial activity” includes, but is not limited to:

(A) Intimate details of the plaintiff’s personal life under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(B) Interaction with the plaintiff’s family or significant others under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(C) If and only after the person has been convicted of violating Section 626.8 of the Penal Code, any activity that occurs when minors are present at any location set forth in subdivision (a) of Section 626.8 of the Penal Code.

(D) Any activity that occurs on a residential property under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(E) Other aspects of the plaintiff’s private affairs or concerns under circumstances in which the plaintiff has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

(2) “Private, personal, and familial activity” does not include illegal or otherwise criminal activity as delineated in subdivision (g). However, “private, personal, and familial activity” shall include the activities of victims of crime in circumstances under which subdivision (a), (b), or (c) would apply.

(m)

(1) A proceeding to recover the civil fines specified in subdivision (d) or (e) may be brought in any court of competent jurisdiction by a county counsel or city attorney.

(2) Fines collected pursuant to this subdivision shall be allocated, as follows:

(A) One-half shall be allocated to the prosecuting agency.

(B) One-half shall be deposited in the Arts and Entertainment Fund, which is hereby created in the State Treasury.

(3) Funds in the Arts and Entertainment Fund created pursuant to paragraph (2) may be expended by the California Arts Council, upon appropriation by the Legislature, to issue grants pursuant to the Dixon-Zenovich-Maddy California Arts Act of 1975 (Chapter 9 (commencing with Section 8750) of Division 1 of Title 2 of the Government Code).

(4) The rights and remedies provided in this subdivision are cumulative and in addition to any other rights and remedies provided by law.

(n) The provisions of this section are severable. If any provision of this section or its application is held invalid, that invalidity shall not affect other provisions or applications that can be given effect without the invalid provision or application.

(Amended by Stats. 2015, Ch. 521, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2016.)

California Government Code 853.  

A local public entity or public employee of a local public entity shall not be liable for any damage to an unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system, if the damage was caused while the local public entity or public employee of a local public entity was providing, and the unmanned aircraft or unmanned aircraft system was interfering with, the operation, support, or enabling of any of the following emergency services:

(a) Emergency medical services or ambulance transport services, including, but not limited to, air ambulance services.

(b) Firefighting or firefighting-related services, including, but not limited to, air services related to firefighting or firefighting-related services.

(c) Search and rescue services, including, but not limited to, air search and rescue services.

California Government Code 853.1

The immunity provided by this chapter is in addition to any other immunity provided to a local public entity or public employee of a local public entity under law.

California Government Code 853.5.  

The following definitions shall apply to this chapter:

(a) “Unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft.

(b) “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned aircraft and associated elements, including, but not limited to, communication links and the components that control the unmanned aircraft that are required for the pilot in command to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system.

California Penal Code 402 

(a)

(1) Every person who goes to the scene of an emergency, or stops at the scene of an emergency, for the purpose of viewing the scene or the activities of police officers, firefighters, emergency medical, or other emergency personnel, or military personnel coping with the emergency in the course of their duties during the time it is necessary for emergency vehicles or those personnel to be at the scene of the emergency or to be moving to or from the scene of the emergency for the purpose of protecting lives or property, unless it is part of the duties of that person’s employment to view that scene or those activities, and thereby impedes police officers, firefighters, emergency medical, or other emergency personnel or military personnel, in the performance of their duties in coping with the emergency, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(2) For purposes of this subdivision, a person shall include a person, regardless of his or her location, who operates or uses an unmanned aerial vehicle, remote piloted aircraft, or drone that is at the scene of an emergency.

(b) Every person who knowingly resists or interferes with the lawful efforts of a lifeguard in the discharge or attempted discharge of an official duty in an emergency situation, when the person knows or reasonably should know that the lifeguard is engaged in the performance of his or her official duty, is guilty of a misdemeanor.

(c) For the purposes of this section, an emergency includes a condition or situation involving injury to persons, damage to property, or peril to the safety of persons or property, which results from a fire, an explosion, an airplane crash, flooding, windstorm damage, a railroad accident, a traffic accident, a powerplant accident, a toxic chemical or biological spill, or any other natural or human-caused event.

(Amended by Stats. 2016, Ch. 817, Sec. 1. Effective January 1, 2017.)

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How to Get a Drone License Step-by-Step Guide So You Can Make Money

This page is a how-to guide on getting your drone license which has also been called all sorts of things such as a remote pilot certificate, commercial drone license, UAV certificate, drone permit, drone pilot license, etc. The correct term is a remote pilot certificate, but throughout this article, I will be referring to the remote pilot certificate and drone license interchangeably in this article.

This guide is based upon my knowledge as a current FAA certificated flight instructor (CFI & CFII) and aviation attorney. I suggest you take time and skim through the drone license table of contents below which lists many FAQs regarding the drone license. Also below are two step by step portions for brand new pilots trying to obtain their drone license and one for the current manned aircraft pilots seeking to obtain their drone license to fly their drones commercially.

Drone License Guide Table of Contents

Quick FAQ’s Surrounding the “Drone License”  

New Pilot Step-by-Step Guide to Obtain the Drone License

New Pilot Drone License FAQ  

The Drone License TSA Background Check Questions 

Current Manned Aircraft Pilots Step-by-Step Instructions to Obtain the Drone License

Current Pilot FAQ About the Drone License

FAQs From Those with Pending Section 333 Exemptions 

FAQs From Those Who Already Have Section 333 Exemptions  

Want to Continue Learning About Part 107?  

FAA Safety Notice: Tips for CFIs Processing Remote Pilot & Student Pilot Applications Notice Number: NOTC7141  

drone-license-guide-infographic

 

drone-pilot-license-part-107-checklist

Quick FAQ’s Surrounding the “Drone License”

1.Why do you use the term “drone license” in the title of one of your blog posts when the correct term is remote pilot certificate?

I know the correct term is remote pilot certificate; however, when writing a blog post, it is important to write a title that would be understood by new individuals.  If you were new to this area, what would you type in Google?  Drone license or remote pilot certificate? A simple search on search volume shows that “drone license” is more than twice the volume of “remote pilot certificate.” I wrote the articles for first-time pilots, not existing pilots who know how to speak “aviationese.” I also wrote the article to rank high in Google so high-quality information could be found on the drone license not some thrown together article from a professional marketing person who has very little aviation experience.

2. Do I Need a Pilot License’s to Fly a Drone Commercially?

Yes, but it is NOT one of the expensive manned aircraft pilot licenses most people think about. You only need the Part 107 remote pilot certificate (also known as a “drone license”) to operate your drone commercially. This drone license allows you to fly your drone for profit.

 

3. Does My Business Have to Obtain a Drone License to Use Drones?

No, only individuals can obtain the drone license. However, businesses can obtain waivers or authorizations and allow their remote pilots to fly under those. There must be a remote pilot in command for each non-recreational flight and they must possess a current drone license.

 

4. Why Is It Called a Remote Pilot Certificate and Not a Drone Pilot License?

The term “pilot license” is what is used commonly to describe FAA airmen certificates. The FAA certificates aircraft, mechanics, airmen, remote pilots, etc., they don’t license.  For non-recreational drone operators, the proper term is a remote pilot certificate. These certificates are being issued with a small unmanned aircraft rating which means the pilot could only operate a drone that is under 55 pounds. I foresee the FAA adding ratings onto the remote pilot certificate for certain types of operations such as over 55-pound operations, night, beyond visual line of sight, etc.

 

5. What Happens If I Fly the Drone Commercially Without a Drone License?

You could get fined for each regulation you are violating under Part 107. The FAA has been prosecuting drone operators. The previous fine per violation was $1,100, but it has recently gone up to $1,414 per violation. You could be violating multiple regulations per flight. If you land and then take off again, that is 2x the number of fines since you are breaking the same regulations again on the second flight. Now you understand why Skypan ended up with a $1.9 million aggregate fine. They later however settled with the FAA for $200,000.

 

6. How Can I Obtain the Drone License?

You have two ways to obtain your drone license:

(1) Pass the remote pilot initial knowledge exam, submit the information onto IACRA,  pass the TSA background check, & receive your remote pilot certificate electronically; or

(2) If you are a current manned aircraft pilot, take the free online training course from the FAA, submit your application on IACRA, receive your remote pilot certificate electronically.

Each method for obtaining the drone license has different steps from the other. Keep reading below for super detailed step-by-step instructions for EACH of these methods.

 

commercial drone pilot license7. I’m Brand New. What are the Steps to Obtaining a the Drone License?

You’ll have to take the remote pilot initial knowledge exam at a knowledge testing center. Note: if you took a test on the FAA’s website and received a certificate like what is on the right, this is NOT a Part 107 initial knowledge test for new pilots. The certificate to the right is from the online training course which is only for current manned aircraft pilots transitioning over to drones.

 

8. Who Can Take the Part 107 Remote Pilot Exam?

To obtain your drone license you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet one of these requirements for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment)
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS
  • Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center

9. What if I Have a Manned Aircraft Pilot Certificate Already?

You still have to obtain the remote pilot certificate. If you have a current biannual flight review and a pilot certificate, other than a student pilot certificate, your instructions are located here.

 

New Pilot Step-by-Step Guide to Obtain the Drone License.


Do these steps in the exact order of how they appear in this list:

  1. Figure out how far you need to schedule the test.
    • Take an honest inventory of the hours you have PER DAY.
    • Multiply the hours by 5. (You are most likely going have things that pop up during the week and you’ll need a day to rest.)
    • Now you have an idea of how many hours per week you can dedicate to studying.
    • You are most likely going to read 1 page every 2 minutes because it is technical reading.  The study guide has a total of 406 pages to read.  406 pages x 2 minutes = 812 minutes of reading (13.53 hours). Keep in mind you are not a robot so you are going to have to go back over and study certain areas to retain the information.
    • For example, if you can set aside 5 hours a week to study, this mean in roughly 2.5 weeks you would have completed all of the reading. I would tack on 2 weeks extra of studying. This gives you an idea of how far out you need to schedule your test.
  2. Immediately schedule a time to take the FAA Part 107 knowledge test at one of the testing sites. There are only two companies that offer the Part 107 exam: CATS and PSI/Lasergrade.
    • Figure out which test site you want to take the test at. There are currently 696 of these centers around the world. CATS does a $10 off discount for current AOPA members. If you want to become a current AOPA student member, you can sign up here. 
    • Find out the site ID so you know who to call. LAS = PSI/ Laser Grade  ABS = CATS
    • Test option 1: CATS is registering and taking appointments for the test!
      • CATS – call and get an appointment for a date.
        • This is their main testing number. Call 1-800-947-4228 and press 3. Monday through Friday
          5:30 AM PST to 5:00 PM PST Saturday & Sunday
          7:00 AM PST to 3:30 PM PST
    • Test option 2: PSI/Lasergrade(August 13) Is also registering people for the Part 107 initial knowledge exam
      •  Call 1-800-211-2754 or  1-800-733-9267 to register for your test.
  3. Start studying for the test. I created free 100+ page Part 107 test study guide. The study guide has the material the FAA suggested you study, but I added essential material they left out. It also comes with 41 sample Part 107 exam questions that are answered and explained. Think of it as your “personal trainer” for Part 107 to get you into a lean mean testing machine. You can read the Part 107 test study guide online or you can sign up for the free drone law newsletter below and be able to download the PDF to study on the go.
  1. Now that you know what the rules are, make a business plan for operations under Part 107 once you obtain the drone license. Go back and skim over the Part 107 Summary and read about Part 107 waivers (COAs). You might want to branch out into non-107 types of operations.
  2. Once you have figured out what types of industries and operations you plan on doing, you should spend this time:
    • Building or updating your website.
    • Buying the aircraft or practicing flying your current aircraft.
    • Obtaining insurance for the aircraft that will perform the operations.
    • Finding an attorney for each of the particular areas of law listed below. You may not need the lawyer right away but you have time to calmly make decisions now as opposed to rapidly making decisions in the future when your business is growing. You won’t have time in the future as you do now. Put their numbers in your phone. Ideally, you should have a retainer/ billing relationship set up to get answers rapidly.
      • Business / tax – (Preferably both)
      • Aviation – Contact me to get things set up. Remember. I’m not your attorney until you sign an attorney-client agreement!)
      • Criminal – (in case you get arrested because of some drone ordinance you stumbled upon).
  1. Take the Part 107 initial knowledge test.
  2. Complete FAA Form 8710-13:
    1. By filling out the paper-based version of FAA Form 8710-13 and mailing it off  OR  
    2. Online for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA).
        • Login to IACRA with your username and password. If you don’t remember them, follow the “Forgot Username or Password” link.
        • Applicant Console
          • From the Applicant Console, you can start new applications and view any existing applications. Click Start New Application
          • Select ‘Pilot’ from the Application Type drop-down list. This will now show the different types of pilot certificates IACRA has available.
          • Click on Remote Pilot. Starting a Remote Pilot Application
        • The Application Process page will open, and the Personal Information section will be open. This section will be prepopulated with the information you entered when you registered. If no changes are needed, click the green Save & Continue button at the bottom of this section.
        • The Supplementary Data section will open. Answer the English Language and Drug Conviction questions. If you would like to add comments to your application, you can do so here. Click Save & Continue.
        • The Basis of Issuance section will open.
          • Enter all the information related to your photo ID. A US passport or US driver’s license is preferred.
          • Enter the knowledge test ID in the Search box. PLEASE NOTE: It can take up to 72 hours after you take your knowledge test before it is available in IACRA. When you find the test, click the green Associate Test button. Now click Save & Continue.
        • The Review and Submit section will open.
          • Answer the Denied Certificate question.
          • Summary information info will be displayed.
          • You must view the Pilots Bill of Rights, Privacy Act and Review your application before you can continue.
        • Sign and Complete
          • You should now sign the Pilots Bill of Rights Acknowledgement form.
          • Sign and complete your application.
          • Your application is now complete and will be automatically sent to the Airman Registry.
          • After 2-4 days, your temporary certificate will be available in IACRA. You will also receive an email reminder.
          • Your permanent certificate will arrive by mail.

New Pilot FAQ About the Drone License

1. If I pass this Part 107 remote pilot exam, can I charge for the flight?

Yes, provided you fly within the requirements of Part 107.

 

2. Do model aircraft individuals have to get a 107 exam?

No. Section 107.1 says Part 107 does not apply to “Any aircraft subject to the provisions of part 101 of this chapter[.]” Part 101 is the section for model aircraft. You are going to have to meet the criteria of Part 101 or you will be forced to fly under Part 107. One area that has not been fully clarified is whether FPV racing will be allowed to fly under Part 101 since FPV racing does not fully comply with the FAA’s 2014 Model Aircraft Interpretation which said FPV could not be used to see and avoid other aircraft. The preamble to Part 107 in Pages 73-77 said they will issue a final interpretation on the 2014 interpretation sometime coming up but they did NOT address the interpretation in Part 107. Interestingly, Part 107 DOES allow for FPV provided you use a visual observer.  See page 149 of the Part 107 Preamble.

 

3. Part 107 isn’t for model aircraft people but just commercial people, right?

No, everyone on the internet incorrectly classified everything as either commercial or non-commercial when the correct way to do it is model or non-model. Non-profit environmental organizations or fire departments are two good situations where they aren’t charging for the flight and cannot fall into model aircraft operations. They would need to get authorized some other way to fly.

 

4. How much does remote pilot initial knowledge exam cost?

First time pilots have to take the initial knowledge exam which is estimated at $150.[1] Current manned pilots can either take the initial knowledge exam for $150 or take an initial online training course for free.

 

5. When does Part 107 go into effect?

August 29, 2016.

 

6. Where can I take the 107 knowledge exam?

You take it at a knowledge exam testing center. A complete list is located here.

 

7. How can I Study for the Part 107 Knowledge Test to Get My Drone License?

I created a FREE 100+ page Part 107 test study guide which includes all the information you need to pass the exam. Let me repeat. ALL the information needed to pass the test is in this study guide. Additionally, the study guide comes with  6 “cram” summary pages, 41 sample Part 107 exam questions that are answered and explained, and 24 super hard brand-new practice questions NO ONE ELSE HAS.

There are many paid training sources out there. But I do not know of any of them that are FAA certificated flight instructors AND also practicing aviation attorneys. Be skeptical of most of the 107 courses out there as some of them had to hire FAA certificated flight instructors to teach the material. This implicitly means they do NOT know the subject. Did the flight instructor they hire edit the material or just merely be recorded. In other words, what quality assurance do you have that the paid 107-course creators didn’t botch something up in the post-production?

Additionally, here is a list of Part 107 articles for you to study further:

8. How Long Does It Take to Receive My Remote Pilot Certificate After I Submit on IACRA?

If you have a pilot certificate and took the initial knowledge exam, you have already passed a TSA security threat assessment background check when you obtained your manned aircraft pilot certificate. This means you will have your remote pilot certificate faster than someone brand new.

If you are brand-new, I canNOT estimate because (1) the TSA’s backlog of pending IACRA applications seems to be growing and (2) I don’t know all the factors the FAA and TSA are looking at now.

 


9. I saw some link on the Facebook forums about a Part 107 test. I took it and received a certificate like what is on the right. Is this my drone license?

drone pilot licenseThat online test is NOT the Part 107 initial knowledge exam. That test is ONLY for the current manned aircraft pilots who wish to obtain a remote pilot certificate. See How to Get Your FAA Drone Pilot License (For First-Time and Current Pilots) for more information about how to get your drone pilot license.

 

10. How many different exams are there?

The current manned aircraft pilots can take either the initial online training course or the Part 107 initial knowledge exam while the first time pilots can ONLY take the initial Part 107 knowledge exam. After you receive your remote pilot certificate, you’ll have to pass a recurrent exam within 24 calendar-months of passing either an initial or recurrent aeronautical knowledge test.

 


11. I read some people on Facebook telling me about the law and the drone license……

Let me stop you right there. Getting aviation law advice off Facebook forums is like getting medical help off Craigslist – it’s dumb. Yes, I know there are a few good attorneys online that do help, but there are also a ton of posers. Friends don’t let friends drive drunk or get aviation law info off Facebook. On top of this, some of the people on these Facebook groups are committing the unlicensed practice of law by picking up clients for legal work but are too ignorant of their own criminal laws to know they are breaking these laws. Offering to help you be compliant with the law – while breaking the law themselves.

 

12. What happens if I fail the Part 107 initial knowledge test? 

The FAA’s Advisory Circular says on page 27, “Retaking the UAS knowledge test after a failure:

  • 14 CFR part 107, section 107.71 specifies that an applicant who fails the knowledge test may not retake the knowledge test for 14 calendar days from the date of the previous failure.
  • An applicant retesting after failure is required to submit the applicable AKTR indicating failure to the testing center prior to retesting.
  • No instructor endorsement or other form of written authorization is required to retest after failure.
  • The original failed AKTR must be retained by the proctor and attached to the applicable daily log.”

 

The TSA Background Check for the Drone License Questions

 

1. I Made Some Mistakes in My Past. What Do the TSA and FAA Look For? What Disqualified me from Receiving a Drone License?

I don’t know all the factors. I can say the FAA really does not like alcohol and drug related crimes.  They also don’t like a breath refusal.

 

§107.57   Offenses involving alcohol or drugs.

(a) A conviction for the violation of any Federal or State statute relating to the growing, processing, manufacture, sale, disposition, possession, transportation, or importation of narcotic drugs, marijuana, or depressant or stimulant drugs or substances is grounds for:

(1) Denial of an application for a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating for a period of up to 1 year after the date of final conviction; or

(2) Suspension or revocation of a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.

(b) Committing an act prohibited by §91.17(a) or §91.19(a) of this chapter is grounds for:

(1) Denial of an application for a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating for a period of up to 1 year after the date of that act; or

(2) Suspension or revocation of a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.

§107.59   Refusal to submit to an alcohol test or to furnish test results.

A refusal to submit to a test to indicate the percentage by weight of alcohol in the blood, when requested by a law enforcement officer in accordance with §91.17(c) of this chapter, or a refusal to furnish or authorize the release of the test results requested by the Administrator in accordance with §91.17(c) or (d) of this chapter, is grounds for:

(a) Denial of an application for a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating for a period of up to 1 year after the date of that refusal; or

(b) Suspension or revocation of a remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating.

 

2. I’m a new pilot, does TSA pre-check or global entry count? I want to get my drone license as quick as possible.

Don’t know.

 

3. I’m a  part 61 pilot trying to obtain my remote pilot certificate, do I have to get TSA background checked?

No, you already had your check when you obtained your Part 61 certificate.

 

4. I’m a fire fighter, law enforcement officer, government agency employee, etc……can I get my 107 certificate and then go do government stuff?  

Sure. But keep in mind that sometimes it might be beneficial to get a Public COA to accomplish the mission as there are certain restrictions with Part 107. However, there are Part 107 waivers that can be obtained. Contact me as each situation is different.

 

5. I did a drone certification course with some company, does that count? Is that the same as a drone license?

No, your “certification” is worth nothing. A bunch of these drone courses popped up being taught by unqualified individuals who were far more proficient at WordPress and Mailchimp than they were at teaching weather and manuals. Only the FAA can certify you.

 

6. Do you have to have a pilot’s license to fly a drone?

It depends on. If you are flying recreationally according to Part 101, you do NOT need to have a pilot license. If you are flying non-recreationally (commercial, etc.), then you would need a pilot certificate.

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Current Manned Aircraft Pilots Step-by-Step Instructions to Obtain the Drone License

You may be either a sport, recreational, private, commercial, or air transport pilot. You CANNOT be a student pilot. Additionally, the pilot must be current according to 14 C.F.R. § 61.56. This can be done multiple ways but the most popular is they have a sign off in their logbook saying they have completed their bi-annual flight review (BFR).

 

For some, getting a BFR can be much more expensive than taking the Part 107 initial knowledge exam which costs $150. You can be a non-current pilot and take the initial knowledge exam, then submit your application on IACRA. You’ll receive your temporary drone pilot license (remote pilot certificate) electronically so many days later. If this is your situation, then do the “first-time pilot” steps above.

 

Flight Plan for a Current Manned Aircraft Pilot to Obtain the Drone License:

  1. Read the 3-page Part 107 Summary.
  2. Go, download, and read the latest edition of Part 107. The regulations start on page 590. Anytime you have a question about something, make a note and keep reading. The large majority of the whole document is the FAA repeating the comments made to the NPRM and the FAA’s response and rationale for the regulation. Treat it like the FAA’s commentary on the individual regulations. Anytime you have an issue with a particular word or regulation, use the ctrl + f function in Adobe to find the relative sections that discuss the key term you are interested in.
  3. Read the Advisory Circular to Part 107 Notice that the advisory circular has parts that parallel the parts in Part 107 to help answer any questions you have about the regulations.
  4. Do the remote pilot certificate application process below.

Drone License Application Process:

  1. Complete the online training course “Part 107 small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS) ALC-451” available on the FAA FAASTeam website.
  2. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application for a remote pilot certificate)
    1. Figure out if you want to do it online at IACRA or by paper (the paper form you print out is located here).
    2. Either way, you are going to need to validate applicant identity on IACRA or 8710-13.
      • Contact an FSDO, an FAA-designated pilot examiner (DPE), an airman certification representative (ACR), or an FAA-certificated flight instructor (CFI) to make an appointment to validate your identity. I would suggest doing this with the FSDO because the inspector can give you a temporary certificate at the same time! Look up your local FSDO and make an appointment. Note: FSDO’s almost always do not take walk-ins.  You can also go to a DPE but I think it is better to meet your local FSDO employees because they are the ones that will be doing the investigations in your area.
      • Present the completed FAA Form 8710-13 along with the online course completion certificate or knowledge test report (as applicable) and proof of a current flight review.
      • The completed FAA Form 8710-13 application will be signed by the applicant after the FSDO, DPE, ACR, or CFI examines the applicant’s photo identification and verifies the applicant’s identity. If you are using a CFI to help you process your application, make sure you and they read FAA article below called Tips for CFIs Processing Remote Pilot & Student Pilot Applications. 
        • The identification presented must include a photograph of the applicant, the applicant’s signature, and the applicant’s actual residential address (if different from the mailing address). This information may be presented in more than one form of identification.
        • Acceptable methods of identification include, but are not limited to U.S. drivers’ licenses, government identification cards, passports, and military identification cards (see AC 61-65 Certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors)
    3. The FAA representative will then sign the application.
  1. An appropriate FSDO representative, a FAA designated pilot examiner (DPE), or an airman certification representative (ACR) will issue the applicant a temporary airman certificate (a CFI is not authorized to issue a temporary certificate; they can process applications for applicants who do not want a temporary certificate). The CFI will submit the information on IACRA and you’ll receive your temporary electronically so many days later.
  2. A permanent remote pilot certificate (drone pilot license) will be sent via mail once all other FAA internal processing is complete.

If you need legal services or want to set up enterprise operations to get all your in-house pilots certified, fleet and pilot management, or crew training, contact me at to help with those needs. I work with many other certified aviation professionals to help large companies integrate drones into their operations to be profitable and legal. When looking for aviation law help, don’t hire a poser – hire an attorney who is a pilot. 

Current Pilot FAQs Regarding the Drone License

1. How long does my temporary certificate last? 

§ 107.64(a) says, “A temporary remote pilot certificate with a small UAS rating is issued for up to 120 calendar days, at which time a permanent certificate will be issued to a person whom the Administrator finds qualified under this part.”

 

2. Do I Have to Get Another Medical Exam Before I fly Under My Drone License?

No, a remote pilot certificate does NOT require a medical certificate. However, section 107.17 says, “No person may manipulate the flight controls of a small unmanned aircraft system or act as a remote pilot in command, visual observer, or direct participant in the operation of the small unmanned aircraft if he or she knows or has reason to know that he or she has a physical or mental condition that would interfere with the safe operation of the small unmanned aircraft system.”

 

3. I’m a current part 61 pilot trying to obtain my remote pilot certificate, do I have to get TSA background checked?

No, you already had your check when you obtained your Part 61 certificate. This means you’ll receive your remote pilot certificate faster than a new pilot.

 

FAQs From Those with Pending Section 333 Exemptions

1. I filed a 333 petition and it is still pending. Now what?

The FAA will post a letter to your docket. See here for an example of what one looks like. The FAA is breaking the petitions down into three tiers: (1) operations that can be done within 107, (2) operations that can be done within 107, but need a waiver, and (3) operations that cannot be done within 107 even using a waiver.  Aerial data collection and closed-set exemption petitions are going into tier 1 which means the FAA is closing your docket and no further action is needed from you. You are going to have to go fly under Part 107 and you won’t be given a 333 exemption.

 

2. But my exemption was just about to be approved. Am I goofed?

There was a line drawn in the sand. Exemption petitions or amendments that were posted to regulations.gov by June 22nd are being put into 1 of 3 tiers. Exemptions posted June 23 and onward will NOT be analyzed and put into one of 3 tiers. But going back to the answer to question 1, you most likely will be Tier 1 and the docket will be closed.

 

3. Has the FAA gone through all the petitioners posted up until June 22nd?

I think most of them have been analyzed.

 

4. Which tier does a closed-set TV/movie filming petition go?

Tier 1. Remember that Part 107 does not allow operations over people and would need a waiver. We were hoping that petitions asking for closed-set operations would be put in Tier 2 to have a waiver to operate over participating actors operating under the MPTOM. The FAA analyzed the newer summary Section 333 exemptions (~March  and onward) that were granted and determined that they do not allow operations over participating actors; thus, closed-set petitions cannot go into Tier 2.  Restriction 28 says:

  1. Over or near people directly participating in the operation of the UAS. People directly participating in the operation of the UAS include the PIC, VO, and other consenting personnel that are directly participating in the safe operation of the UA.
  2. Near but not over people directly participating in the intended purpose of the UAS operation. People directly participating in the intended purpose of the UAS must be briefed on the potential risks and acknowledge and consent to those risks. Operators must notify the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) with a plan of activities at least 72 hours prior to flight operations.

 

5. Why did the FAA choose to do a cut-off?

One primary reason is Part 11 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Part 11 governs the FAA rulemaking process, which exemptions are a part of.  14 C.F.R 11.81 says, “You must include the following information in your petition for an exemption . . . The specific section or sections of 14 CFR from which you seek an exemption[.]” There was no Part 107 before. All the exemptions were asking for exemptions from certain parts of Part 61, Part 91, etc. Now we have Part 107. We need to file petitions for exemption from particular regulations of Part 107. We didn’t have the final rules before so we couldn’t have anticipated the specific regulations that we wanted exemptions from.

 

6. I waited all this time and the FAA is just goofing me up?

The FAA’s response would be that you should have filed sooner. They have thousands of pending 333 petitions.

 

FAQs From Those Who Already Have Section 333 Exemptions

I have a 333 and want to do a job tomorrow. Can I do it or do I have to wait to get a 107 certificate? Page 81 of the Preamble to Part 107 says, “the FAA will allow any Section 333 exemption holder to either continue operating under the terms and conditions of the exemption until its expiration, or conduct operations under Part 107 as long as the operation falls under Part 107.” Some time later you should switch over to Part 107 before the 333 exemption expires. Remember that Part 107 is not in effect right now so you can’t start operating under Part 107, which isn’t in effect, and on top of that, you don’t have a Part 107 certificate or 107 add-ons to your existing Part 61 certificate. Think of it like hats. You have a 333 hat right now. When 107 is being issued and you pick it up, you then have the choice to put on one hat or the other but remember you can’t mix and match parts of the hats.

 

Do we still need to get COAs to operate near airports like we did with the 333s? You are required to get an airspace waiver if you are doing operations in Class B, C, D, or E airspace. So you still need a COA near actual legitimate airports. Gone are the days where we had to deal with the middle of nowhere private airports or the heliports that were completely all over the place like a herd of toddlers that somehow got into craft sparkles.

 

Wait. I read Part 107 and it said ATC permission. It didn’t say anything about waivers. Where are you getting this COA idea from?  The FAA further clarified this area by their own FAQ page which says:

How do I request permission from Air Traffic Control to operate in Class B, C, D, or E airspace? Is there a way to request permission electronically?
You can request airspace permission through an online web portal on the FAA’s UAS website. This online portal will be available on August 29, 2016.

 

Can I contact my local air traffic control tower or facility directly to request airspace permission?
No. All airspace permission requests must be made through the online portal.

 

What advantage do 333 guys have now?  You have the ability to transition over to Part 107 when you feel like it. Many are rushing in to get their Part 107 certificate but the test will not be available until August and the new pilots will have to pass a TSA background check – along with a ton of other people. For non-part 61 pilots, the date of taking the exam and date of having a temporary certificate in their hand are going to be two different dates. Another advantage is that the 333 operators with airspace COAs will have an advantage to those without. There could be delays in implementation by the FAA which affects the 107 people but not the 333 people. Ultimately, the 107 is going to replace the 333 exemptions, except for a few situations like 55 pound and heaver, VLOS package delivery, carrying hazardous material, etc.

 

Can a Part 107 remote pilot fly under our 333 exemption as pilot in command? Prior to June 2016, no 333 exemption had this provision so NO. You can’t mix and match parts and pieces of the 333 and the 107. It is either/or. For example, let’s say you have a COA already for your 333 in Class D airspace, you can’t take that COA and apply it over to your 107 certificate.

 

So why would I fly under Part 107 as opposed to the 333 exemption? There is no 500 foot bubble rule, no NOTAMs, no sport pilot license at a minimum, no visual observer requirement, etc.

 

Can I renew my 333 exemption? This depends on whether you can do the operations under 107 or not. Most of the exemptions were for aerial data collection which can be done under Part 107 so they will most likely not be renewed. See page 87 of the preamble to Part 107 for more details.

 

Want to Continue Learning About Part 107?

FAA Safety Notice: Tips for CFIs Processing Remote Pilot & Student Pilot Applications
Notice Number: NOTC7141

“While tens of thousands of applications for these certificates have been successfully processed by recommending officials during the past year, a significant number of applications have had to be returned to CFIs for needed corrections. This delayed the issuance and delivery of the certificates and sadly resulted in having some of our applicants waiting for certificates longer than they and we would have liked. Points below emphasize what you as a CFI can do to keep the certification system working efficiently.

Be certain the applicant uses his or her legal name. Advise applicant to use the same legal name on his or her application for any knowledge test and all subsequent certificate applications. When there is a mismatch in names between an application and a knowledge test or a mismatch between a current and previous application, the current application is rejected. The applicant may have to visit a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) in order to effect a name change.

IACRA allows an applicant to change his or her name in the user profile. If the applicant’s name is not his or her full legal name (limited to 50 characters), then you should tell the applicant to amend his or her name in the IACRA user profile and start a new application. It’s very important to get this right on the applicant’s first  application submitted—the student pilot or remote pilot application that is submitted to the FAA Airman Registry as a legal document. The address the applicant uses must be a residential address, and not a business address. If a business address is detected, the application will also be rejected for correction by the registry.

Don’t forget to send all paper applications to the local FSDO for review.  About a third of the rejected remote pilot certificate applications in the past year were paper applications that were mistakenly sent directly to AFS-760 by the recommending CFI. Remember to include the FAA Course Completion Certificate for an existing pilot’s remote pilot certificate application.

Consider that IACRA helps to ensure a complete and correct application and instantly submits the application to AFS-760. Although the Airmen Certification Branch, AFS-760, will accept a paper application using a paper FAA Form 8710-1 (for a student pilot certificate application) or FAA paper Form 8710-13 (for a remote pilot certificate and/or rating application), the chance of a return for correction is lower when IACRA is used by the CFI and the IACRA process is much faster.

Note that whenever the CFI acts as a recommending official, the applicant must be in the same room as the CFI during the application process. The CFI can’t accept an application for a student or remote pilot certificate through the mail, over the phone, by fax, or even by messenger service.  This ensures that there is proper vetting of the applicant’s ID and that the applicant is the rightful bearer of the documents presented. The IACRA process gives the CFI a checklist.  As part of the process the CFI logs off and the applicant must log on to the same console to complete the application process. So, never use anyone else’s user id and password for the system for the sake of convenience since it could lead to some serious issues down the road for those involved. Always check the applicant’s identity carefully and in person.

It’s also a great idea to include the applicant’s email and telephone number on an application in case contact for correction is necessary. As a CFI, you can write in your own phone number in the comment section of an application as a courtesy to FAA personnel who may need to contact you about the application. Otherwise, they will have to contact you by mail using your address on file.

For questions or to learn more please email [email protected]

 


Section 333 Exemption vs. Part 107 vs. Public COA vs. Blanket Public COA

section-333-exemption-vs-part-107-public-COA-toolbox.jpg

A common question I receive is “which certification, authorization, exemption, etc. is right for me? There are so many choices.” If this question accurately reflects where you are in life, you are in the right place.

 

There is much confusion on this issue because of the of the different terms, their locations in the law, and the reasons why the different methods of getting a drone airborne legally were created. You need to think of each of these different terms like it was a tool. Each tool was designed to fix certain problems at a certain point in time.

 

Hopefully, this article will bring to light the main differences between the different methods. Keep in mind that the different methods listed below are only SOME of the methods. I picked the most popular methods of getting airborne legally but there are other alternatives to the ones listed.

 

Please keep in mind that this article is designed to compare and contrast SOME of the major provisions and is NOT an exhaustive study on all the issues.  In other words, you should not rely on this article for legal advice because there are many issues in play. This is for educational purposes only.

 

Table of Contents

I. Graph Comparing Aircraft, Pilot, Airspace, and Operational Requirements

II. Part 107

III. Section 333 

IV. Airworthiness Certificates

V. Public COA

Example of a 333 Exemption

Example of a Blanket COA

Example of a Public “Blanket” COA (Version 1.0 ~ Mid-Late 2016)

Example of a Public “Blanket” COA (Version 1.2)

 

I. Graph Comparing Aircraft, Pilot, Airspace, and Operational Requirements

Please keep in mind these are the major points and not ALL of the points in contrast. If I put everything down, the table would get messy and hard to read.

 Aircraft RequirementsPilot RequirementsAirspace RequirementsTypes of Operations
Part 107Under 55lbs.Remote Pilot Certificate with SUAS RatingClass G, unless authorized or waivedDaylight, visual line of sight, 400ft AGL(unless within 400ft of a structure), not over people, etc.
Section 333As Required in the ExemptionPart 61 Certificate (Sport, Recreational, Private, Commercial, ATP, but not Student). Driver’s license or 3rd class medical.Within “Blanket” COA or Standards COA RequirementsAs defined by the exemption. Can be over 55lb+ or beyond visual line of sight.
Special Airworthiness Certificate (Experimental Category)Experimental Special Airworthiness Certificate.Part 61 Certificate (Sport, Recreational, Private, Commercial, ATP, but not Student).Within Standard COA RequirementsR&D, Showing Compliance with Regulations, Crew Training, Exhibition, Air Racing, Market Surveys. See Section 21.191.
Special Airworthiness Certificate (Restricted Category)Previously type certificated or manufactured & accepted by an Armed Force of the United States.Part 61 Certificate (Sport, Recreational, Private, Commercial, ATP, but not Student).Within Standard COA RequirementsAgriculture, forest and wildlife conservation, aerial surveying patrolling, weather control, aerial advertising,  or any other operation specified by the FAA. See Section 21.25.
Standard Airworthiness CertificateNo small unmanned aircraft has this certification
Public “Blanket” COA (Version 1.2)Under 55lbs.Self-CertifyClass G & at or below 400ft AGL. Beyond 5/3/2 airport distance requiresments.Section 40102(a)(41) & 40125(a)(2) and within public “blanket” COA limitations.
Public COASelf-CertifySelf-CertifySelf-Certify49 USC §§ 40102(a)(41);  40125
Part 101Under 55lbs unless certified through a community-based organization (CBO) safety program.CBO standardsNotification required to manager and tower if within 5 miles of an airport.Hobby or recreational only. Does not interfere and gives way to manned aircraft. Within CBO  safety guidelines. Cannot endanger safety of national airspace system.

 

 

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This graphic compares the four most popular methods of getting airborne. The  FAA has delegated some of the standard setting to the remote pilot in command (purple) or the FAA determined the standard by which the remote pilot must follow (grey).

part-107-101-333-exemption-publicc-coa-comparison


II. Part 107

This part of the regulations went into effect on August 29, 2016. Prior to 107, we were operating predominately under a Section 333 exemptions.

 

For many, Part 107 is the best solution; however, there are particular operations which cannot be done under just Part 107 or a Part 107 waiver such as over 55-pound and heavier operations, crop dusting operations, beyond visual line of sight property transport or moving vehicle in a congested area property transport, etc.   If you are needing help with any of those, contact me.

 

For operations, that cannot be completed under Part 107, a Section 333 exemption could be a good alternative, but not always the best. The idea I want to to take away is that there are different tools for different problems. Some operators can have multiple tools in their toolbox to accomplish their missions depending on the particular facts. For example, a fire department could have 107 remote pilots, a section 333 exemption, and a public COA all at the same time. The problem at hand determines which tool you would pull out of the toolbox.

 

III. Section 333 Exemption

This basically is a legal Frankenstein created using the FAA’s authority given in Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, Part 11’s exemption process, and the Part 91 waiver process. The first exemptions came out in September 2014 and were the backbone of the commercial drone industry till Part 107 came out which had far less restrictive requirements. See an Example of a 333 Exemption

 

From September 2014 -November 2016, we saw multiple versions of the exemptions which morphed and changed over time. For example, the early exemptions had restrictions requiring the pilot to keep a 25% battery reserve, it then changed to 30%, and then a 5 minute reserve which goofed over the cinematographers who originally worked with the FAA to craft the 333 exemptions! Why did it hurt cinematographers? Because if their large heavy lift drones had a flight time of 15 minutes, under the original exemptions they would be required to keep a 25% battery reserve (3.75 minutes) while under the newer restrictions it is 5 minutes which results in a loss of available flight time.

 

In November 2016, the FAA unilaterally updated over 5,000 to all have the same set of restrictions. One wonders how that was not arbitrary and capricious.

 

The two most problematic restrictions for the 333 exemption operators were the 500ft “bubble” around the drone of which non-participating people and property must stay out of and the requirement to operate under a certificate of authorization.

 

Early on, the 333 exemptions did not come with COAs and people had to apply for them. The FAA quickly learned the error of that and created the “blanket” COA which was issued to all the 333 exemption holders upon approval. The FAA updated the “blanket” COA over time from 200ft AGL to 400ft AGL.  But here is the problem why the certificate of authorization was the second biggest problem, the “blanket” COA sis good for operations outside of 5 NM from a towered airport, 3NM from an airport with an instrument approach procedure, or 2NM from an airport, heliport, glider port, etc.  This made operations in cities or near them almost impossible because you would have to apply for a new COA, because the “blanket” COA would not work, and the wait 6 months +. The jobs would go to the illegal operators.

 

IV. Airworthiness Certificates

The FAA has been charged with maintaining the safety of the national airspace system and protecting people on the ground. One of the ways the FAA ensures safety is by certifying the aircraft to make sure it is airworthiness (it won’t fall out of the sky and kill people). This process which was originally designed for manned aircraft has been used for unmanned aircraft successfully.

 

There are two types of airworthiness certificates: (1) standard and (2) special.  To date, no small unmanned aircraft has obtained a standard airworthiness certificate, but I know some companies are in the process of trying to obtain them for their aircraft. There have been some special airworthiness certificates given out in the experimental and the restricted categories.

 

Obtaining an airworthiness certificate is time-consuming. A major reason it is rarely used today is an operator could just go the Section 333 exemption route or the Part 107 route which allow the pilot in command to determine the airworthiness of the aircraft. However, there are some instances where a special airworthiness certificate could be more beneficial than the 333 exemption or Part 107. It just depends on the facts of the intended operations. Different tools in the toolbox.

 

One point to mention is that an unmanned aircraft would not just need an airworthiness certificate but also a COA as well for the operations to be in compliance with the regulations.

 

V. Public COA

This method is only available for government agencies. The agency has to be fulfilling certain specific governmental functions under certain conditions for the operator to get the ability to self-certify their own pilot, aircraft, maintenance, and medical standards. The FAA is very strict on the missions and requirements because it does not want government agencies to run commercial types of missions or non-government missions under a public COA which is far less restrictive than other methods.

 

A government operator obtains a public COA by first sending the FAA a declaration letter outlining that the agency and its intended missions fall within the public aircraft statutes, the FAA reviews the declaration letter to determine if it is sufficient, the FAA gives the agency access to the COA portal to file a COA application, the government agency files the COA application, the FAA reviews the COA application and either approves, denies, or asks for more information.  The agency then operates under the public COA and the Federal Aviation Regulations.

 

When the 333 exemption method was getting into full swing,  public aircraft operators noticed that the Section 333 process seemed quicker and the “blanket” COAs that were being given out were for the entire United States, except for certain areas, while the public COAs were mission. aircraft, and location specific. This was a no brainer so government agencies started obtaining 333 exemptions because they were less restrictive than the public COAs.

 

Other government agencies were upset and wanted a similar deal to the 333 exemption’s blanket COA so the FAA created the “blanket” public COA which is basically a frankensteined version of a public COA, a section 333 exemption, and the blanket COA. Agencies were happy for a while but caught on that the Section 333 exemptions were evolving to be less restrictive while the blanket public COA stayed the same. For example, the blanket public COA requires the pilot to have a private, commercial, or ATP certificate to operate near certain types of airports while the 333 exemptions required as little as a

Agencies were happy for a while but caught on that the Section 333 exemptions were evolving to be less restrictive while the blanket public COA stayed the same. For example, the blanket public COA requires the pilot to have a private, commercial, or ATP certificate to operate near certain types of airports while the 333 exemptions required as little as a sport certificate. Additionally, when Part 107 came out, the public blanket COAs still said that the pilot had to have passed the private pilot knowledge exam to fly in most of Class G airspace while a government operator could have their pilots obtain a remote pilot certificate by passing a remote pilot knowledge exam which is easier than a private pilot knowledge exam!

 

This is why few government agencies today go for a public COA or public blanket COA; however, there are sometimes when a public COA is the best solution for the mission but that is fact specific. Different tools for different problems.

 

Conclusion

I outlined a brief summation of some of the major points above. There are all sorts of little contrasts between each of the different methods. If you are needing help with obtaining a tool to put in your toolbox (waiver, authorization, exemption, public COA, etc.), contact me. Paying for 30 minutes of my time can save you lots and lots of headache, time, and money. We can outline a game plan for your operations in  30 minutes so you can stop wasting time reading and focus on achieving your goals of operating a drone to save time, money, or lives.

Stop wasting time and contact me to schedule a phone call. :)

If you interested in learning more, I have put below an:

Example of a 333 Exemption

Example of a Blanket COA

Example of a Public “Blanket” COA (Version 1.0)

Example of a Public “Blanket” COA (Version 1.2)

 

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Example of a 333 Exemption

Dear Section 333 Exemption Holder:
This letter is to inform you that we are amending your exemption that authorizes unmanned aircraft operations under Section 333.1 It explains the basis for our decision, describes its effect, and lists the revised Conditions and Limitations.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has determined that good cause exists for not publishing a summary of the petition in the Federal Register because this amendment to the exemption would not set a precedent, and any delay in acting on this petition would be detrimental to the petitioner. The unmanned aircraft authorized in the original grant are comparable in type, size, weight, speed, and operating capabilities to those in this petition.

 

Additionally, the FAA has finalized the first operational rules for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) (part 107, Operation and Certification of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems). The new rule, which went into effect August 29, 2016, offers safety regulations for sUAS weighing less than 55 pounds that are conducting non-hobbyist operations. The vast majority of operations authorized under previously-issued exemptions under Section 333 have been addressed by part 107; now that part 107 is in effect, these operations do not necessitate an exemption. However, your Section 333 exemption remains valid until it expires. You may continue to fly following the Conditions and Limitations in your exemption and under the terms of a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA). If your operation can be conducted under the requirements in part 107, you may elect to operate under part 107; however, if you wish to operate under part 107, you must obtain a remote pilot certificate and follow the operating rules of part 107. For more information, please visit: http://www.faa.gov/uas/.

 

The Basis for Our Decision
The FAA has previously issued a grant of exemption for relief from §§ 61.23(a) and (c), 61.101(e)(4) and (5), 61.113(a), 61.315(a), 91.7(a), 91.119(c), 91.121, 91.151(a)(1), 91.405(a), 91.407(a)(1), 91.409(a)(1) and (2), and 91.417(a) and (b) of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR). That exemption allows the operators to operate UAS to perform aerial data collection or aerial data collection and closed-set filming and television production.
The FAA has revised the Conditions and Limitations issued in exemptions authorizing unmanned aircraft operations under Section 333 since the petitioner’s previous grant of exemption to those found in Exemption No. 15005 to Thomas R. Guilmette (see Docket No. FAA-2015-5829). Also in Exemption Nos. 13465A to Kansas State University (see Docket No. FAA-2014-1088), 11433A to Cape Productions (see Docket No. FAA-2015-0223), 11213 to Aeryon Labs, Inc. (see Docket No. FAA-2014-0642), 11062 to Astraeus Aerial (see Docket No. FAA−2014−0352), 11109 to Clayco, Inc. (see Docket No. FAA−2014−0507), 11112 to VDOS Global, LLC (see Docket No. FAA−2014−0382), the FAA found that the enhanced safety achieved using a sUAS with the specifications described by the petitioner and carrying no passengers or crew, rather than a manned aircraft of significantly greater proportions, carrying crew and flammable fuel, gives the FAA good cause to find that the UAS operation enabled by this exemption is in the public interest.

 

Our Decision
The FAA has modified the Conditions and Limitations to address aircraft, training, tethered operations, aircraft registration, and flight operations near persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures. Additionally, in previous exemptions, the FAA limited UAS operations to outside 5 nautical miles of an airport reference point (ARP) as denoted in the current FAA Airport/Facility Directory (AFD) or for airports not denoted with an ARP, the center of the airport symbol as denoted on the current FAA-published aeronautical chart unless a letter of agreement (LOA) with that airport’s management is obtained or otherwise permitted by a COA issued to the exemption holder. The FAA has removed that condition. In order to maintain safety in the vicinity of airports in Class B, C, or D airspace, the petitioner must apply to the Air Traffic Organization (ATO) for a new or amended COA. The FAA has determined that the justification for the issuance of Section 333 exemptions remains valid and is in the public interest. Therefore, under the authority contained in 49 U.S.C. 106(f), 40113, and 44701, delegated to me by the Administrator, the operator is granted an amendment to its exemption from 14 CFR §§ 61.23(a) and (c), 61.101(e)(4) and (5), 61.113(a), 61.315(a), 91.7(a), 91.119(c), 91.121, 91.151(a)(1), 91.405(a), 91.407(a)(1), 91.409(a)(1) and (2), and 91.417(a) and (b), to the extent necessary to allow the petitioner to conduct UAS operations. This exemption is subject to the Conditions and Limitations listed below.The list of affected docket numbers is included in Appendix A. The operator shall add this amendment to all previously-issued exemption(s). Without the original exemption and all subsequent amendments, this amendment is not valid.

 

Conditions and Limitations
The Conditions and Limitations within the previously-issued grant of exemptions have been superseded, and are amended as follows. Failure to comply with any of the Conditions and Limitations of this grant of exemption will be grounds for the immediate suspension or rescission of this exemption.

  1. The operator is authorized by this grant of exemption to use any aircraft identified on the List of Approved Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) under Section 333 at regulatory docket FAA–2007–3330 at www.regulations.gov, when weighing less than 55 pounds including payload. Proposed operations of any aircraft not on the list currently posted to the above docket will require a new petition or a petition to amend this exemption.
  2.  If operations under this exemption involve the use of foreign civil aircraft the operator would need to obtain a Foreign Aircraft Permit pursuant to 14 CFR § 375.41 before conducting any commercial air operations under this authority. Application instructions are specified in 14 CFR §375.43. Applications should be submitted by electronic mail to the DOT Office of International Aviation, Foreign Air Carrier Licensing Division. Additional information can be obtained via https://cms.dot.gov/policy/aviation-policy/licensing/foreign-carriers.
  3. The UA may not be operated at a speed exceeding 87 knots (100 miles per hour). The operator may use either groundspeed or calibrated airspeed to determine compliance with the 87 knot speed restriction. In no case will the UA be operated at airspeeds greater than the maximum UA operating airspeed recommended by the aircraft manufacturer.
  4. The UA must be operated at an altitude of no more than 400 feet above ground level (AGL). Altitude must be reported in feet AGL. This limitation is in addition to any altitude restrictions that may be included in the applicable COA.
  5. Air Traffic Organization (ATO) Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA). All operations must be conducted in accordance with an ATO-issued COA. The exemption holder must apply for a new or amended COA if it intends to conduct operations that cannot be conducted under the terms of the enclosed COA.
  6. The Pilot in Command (PIC) must have the capability to maintain visual line of sight (VLOS) at all times. This requires the PIC to be able to use human vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, as specified on that individual’s FAA-issued airman medical certificate or valid U.S. driver’s license issued by a state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, a territory, a possession, or the Federal Government, to see the UA.
  7. All operations must utilize a visual observer (VO). The UA must be operated within the visual line of sight (VLOS) of the VO at all times. The VO must use human vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses to see the UA. The VO, the person manipulating the flight controls of the small UAS, and the PIC must be able to communicate verbally at all times. Electronic messaging or texting is not permitted during flight operations. The PIC must be designated before the flight and cannot transfer his or her designation for the duration of the flight. The PIC must ensure that the VO can perform the duties required of the VO. Students receiving instruction or observing an operation as part of their instruction may not serve as visual observers.
  8. This exemption, the List of Approved Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) under Section 333 at regulatory docket FAA-2007-3330 at www.regulations.gov, all previous grant(s) of exemption, and all documents needed to operate the UAS and conduct its operations in accordance with the Conditions and Limitations stated in this exemption, are hereinafter referred to as the operating documents. The operating documents must be accessible during UAS operations and made available to the Administrator upon request. If a discrepancy exists between the Conditions and Limitations in this exemption, the applicable ATO-issued COA, and the procedures outlined in the operating documents, the most restrictive conditions, limitations, or procedures apply and must be followed. The operator may update or revise its operating documents as necessary. The operator is responsible for tracking revisions and presenting updated and revised documents to the Administrator or any law enforcement official upon request. The operator must also present updated and revised documents if it petitions for extension or amendment to this exemption. If the operator determines that any update or revision would affect the basis upon which the FAA granted this exemption, then the operator must petition for an amendment to its exemption. The FAA’s UAS Integration Office may be contacted if questions arise regarding updates or revisions to the operating documents.
  9. Any UAS that has undergone maintenance or alterations that affect the UAS operation or flight characteristics, e.g. replacement of a flight critical component, must undergo a functional test flight prior to conducting further operations under this exemption. Functional test flights may only be conducted by a PIC with a VO and essential flight personnel only and must remain at least 500 feet from all other people. The functional test flight must be conducted in such a manner so as to not pose an undue hazard to persons and property.
  10. The operator is responsible for maintaining and inspecting the UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation.
  11. Prior to each flight, the PIC must conduct a pre-flight inspection and determine the UAS is in a condition for safe flight. The pre-flight inspection must account for all potential discrepancies, e.g. inoperable components, items, or equipment. If the inspection reveals a condition that affects the safe operation of the UAS, the aircraft is prohibited from operating until the necessary maintenance has been performed and the UAS is found to be in a condition for safe flight.
  12. The operator must follow the UAS manufacturer’s maintenance, overhaul, replacement, inspection, and life limit requirements for the aircraft and aircraft components. Each UAS operated under this exemption must comply with all manufacturer safety bulletins.
  13. PIC certification: Under this grant of exemption, a PIC must hold either an airline transport, commercial, private, recreational, or sport pilot certificate. The PIC must also hold a current FAA airman medical certificate or a valid U.S. driver’s license issued by a state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, a territory, a possession, or the Federal government. The PIC must also meet the flight review requirements specified in 14 CFR § 61.56 in an aircraft in which the PIC is rated on his or her pilot certificate.
  14. PIC qualifications: The PIC must demonstrate the ability to safely operate the UAS in a manner consistent with how it will be operated under this exemption, including evasive and emergency maneuvers and maintaining appropriate distances from persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures before conducting student training operations. Flights for the pilot’s own training, proficiency, or experience-building under this exemption may be conducted under this exemption. PIC qualification flight hours and currency may be logged in a manner consistent with 14 CFR § 61.51(b), however, UAS pilots must not log this time in the same columns or categories as time accrued during manned flight. UAS flight time must not be recorded as part of total time.
  15. Training: The operator may conduct training operations when the trainer/instructor is qualified as a PIC under this exemption and designated as PIC for the entire duration of the flight operation. Students/trainees are considered direct participants in the flight operation when manipulating the flight controls of a small UAS and are not required to hold any airman certificate. The student/trainees may be the manipulators of the controls; however, the PIC must directly supervise their conduct and the PIC must also have sufficient override capability to immediately take direct control of the small UAS and safely abort the operation if necessary, including taking any action necessary to ensure safety of other aircraft as well as persons and property on the ground in the event of unsafe maneuvers and/or emergencies for example landing in an empty area away from people and property.
  16. Under all situations, the PIC is responsible for the safety of the operation. The PIC is also responsible for meeting all applicable Conditions and Limitations as prescribed in this exemption and ATO-issued COA, and operating in accordance with the operating documents. All training operations must be conducted during dedicated training sessions and may or may not be for compensation or hire. The operation must be conducted with a dedicated VO who has no collateral duties and is not the PIC during the flight. The VO must maintain visual sight of the aircraft at all times during flight operations without distraction in accordance with the Conditions and Limitations below. Furthermore, the PIC must operate the UA not closer than 500 feet to any nonparticipating person without exception.
  17. UAS operations may not be conducted during night, as defined in 14 CFR § 1.1. All operations must be conducted under visual meteorological conditions (VMC). Flights under special visual flight rules (SVFR) are not authorized.
  18. The UA may not be operated less than 500 feet below or less than 2,000 feet horizontally from a cloud or when visibility is less than 3 statute miles from the PIC.
  19.  For tethered UAS operations, the tether line must have colored pennants or streamers attached at not more than 50 foot intervals beginning at 150 feet above the surface of the earth and visible from at least 1 mile. This requirement for pennants or streamers is not applicable when operating exclusively below the top of and within 250 feet of any structure, so long as the UA operation does not obscure the lighting of the structure.
  20. For UAS operations where GPS signal is necessary to safely operate the UA, the PIC must immediately recover/land the UA upon loss of GPS signal.
  21. If the PIC loses command or control link with the UA, the UA must follow a predetermined route to either reestablish link or immediately recover or land.
  22. The PIC must abort the flight operation if unpredicted circumstances or emergencies that could potentially degrade the safety of persons or property arise. The PIC must terminate flight operations without causing undue hazard to persons or property in the air or on the ground.
  23. The PIC is prohibited from beginning a flight unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough available power for the UA to conduct the intended operation and to operate after that for at least five minutes or with the reserve power recommended by the manufacturer if greater.
  24. All aircraft operated in accordance with this exemption must be registered in accordance with 14 CFR part 47 or 48, and have identification markings in accordance with 14 CFR part 45, Subpart C or part 48.
  25. Documents used by the operator to ensure the safe operation and flight of the UAS and any documents required under 14 CFR §§ 91.9 and 91.203 must be available to the PIC at the Ground Control Station of the UAS any time the aircraft is operating. These documents must be made available to the Administrator or any law enforcement official upon request.
  26. The UA must remain clear of and give way to all manned aircraft at all times.
  27. The UAS may not be operated by the PIC from any moving device or vehicle.
  28. All flight operations must be conducted at least 500 feet from all persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures unless when operating:

a. Over or near people directly participating in the operation of the UAS. People directly participating in the operation of the UAS include the student manipulating the controls, PIC, VO, and other consenting personnel that are directly participating in the safe operation of the UA.

b. Near but not over people directly participating in the intended purpose of the UAS operation. People directly participating in the intended purpose of the UAS (including students in a class not manipulating the controls of the UAS), who must be briefed on the potential risks and acknowledge and consent to those risks. Operators must notify the local Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) with a plan of activities at least 72 hours prior to flight operations.

c. Near nonparticipating persons: Except as provided in subsections (a) and (b) of this section, a UA may only be operated closer than 500 feet to a person when barriers or structures are present that sufficiently protect that person from the UA and/or debris or hazardous materials such as fuel or chemicals in the event of an accident. Under these conditions, the operator must ensure that the person remains under such protection for the duration of the operation. If a situation arises where the person leaves such protection and is within 500 feet of the UA, flight operations must cease immediately in a manner that does not cause undue hazard to persons.

d. Near vessels, vehicles, and structures. Prior to conducting operations the operator must obtain permission from a person with the legal authority over any vessels, vehicles or structures that will be within 500 feet of the UA during operations. The PIC must make a safety assessment of the risk of operating closer to those objects and determined that it does not present an undue hazard.

29. All operations shall be conducted over private or controlled-access property with permission from a person with legal authority to grant access. Permission will be obtained for each flight to be conducted.

30. Any incident, accident, or flight operation that transgresses the lateral or vertical boundaries of the operational area as defined by the applicable COA must be reported to the FAA’s UAS Integration Office within 24 hours. Accidents must be reported to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in accordance with its UAS accident reporting requirements. For operations conducted closer than 500 feet to people directly participating in the intended purpose of the operation, not protected by barriers, the following additional conditions and limitations apply:

31. The operator must have an operations manual that contains at least the following items, although it is not restricted to these items.

a. Operator name, address, and telephone number

b. Distribution and Revision. Procedures for revising and distributing the operations manual to ensure that it is kept current. Revisions must comply with the applicable Conditions and Limitations in this exemption.

c. Persons Authorized. Specify criteria for designating individuals as directly participating in the safe operation of the UAS. The operations manual must include procedures to ensure that all operations are conducted at distances from persons in accordance with the Conditions and Limitations of the exemption.
d. Plan of Activities. The operations manual must include procedures for the submission of a written plan of activities.

e.Permission to Operate. The operations manual shall specify requirements and procedures that the operator will use to obtain permission to operate over property or near vessels, vehicles, and structures in accordance with this exemption.
f. Security. The manual must specify the method of security that will be used to ensure the safety of nonparticipating persons. This should also include procedures that will be used to stop activities when unauthorized persons, vehicles, or aircraft enter the operations area, or for any other reason, in the interest of safety.

g. Briefing of persons directly participating in the intended operation. Procedures must be included to brief personnel and participating persons on the risks involved, emergency procedures, and safeguards to be followed during the operation.

h.Personnel directly participating in the safe operation of the UAS Minimum Requirements. In accordance with this exemption, the operator must specify the minimum requirements for all flight personnel in the operating manual. The PIC at a minimum will be required to meet the certification standards specified in this exemption.
i. Communications. The operations manual must contain procedures to provide communications capability with participants during the operation. The operator can use oral, visual, or radio communications as along as the participants are apprised of the current status of the operation.

j. Accident Notification. The operations manual must contain procedures for notification and reporting of accidents in accordance with this exemption. In accordance with this exemption, the operating manual and all other operating documents must be accessible to the PIC during UAS operations.

32.At least 72 hours prior to operations, the operator must submit a written Plan of Activities to the local FSDO having jurisdiction over the proposed operating area. The Plan of Activities must include at least the following:

a. Dates and times for all flights. For seasonal or long-term operations, this can include the beginning and end dates of the timeframe, the approximate frequency (e.g. daily, every weekend, etc.), and what times of the day operations will occur. A new plan of activities must be submitted prior to each season or period of operations.

b. Name and phone number of the on-site person responsible for the operation.

c. Make, model, and serial or FAA registration number of each UAS to be used.

d.Name and certificate number of each UAS PIC involved in the operations.

e. A statement that the operator has obtained permission from property owners. Upon request, the operator will make available a list of those who gave permission.

f. Signature of exemption holder or representative stating the plan is accurate.

g. A description of the flight activity, including maps or diagrams of the area over which operations will be conducted and the altitudes essential to accomplish the operation.

Unless otherwise specified in this exemption, the UAS, the UAS PIC, and the UAS operations must comply with all applicable parts of 14 CFR including, but not limited to, parts 45, 47, 48, 61, and 91. This exemption terminates on the date provided in the petitioner’s original exemption or amendment most recently granted prior to the date of this amendment, unless sooner superseded or rescinded.

 

Example of a Blanket COA

A. General.

1. The approval of this COA is effective only with an approved Section 333 FAA Grant of Exemption.
2. A copy of the COA including the special limitations must be immediately available to all operational personnel at each operating location whenever UAS operations are being conducted.
3. This authorization may be canceled at any time by the Administrator, the person authorized to grant the authorization, or the representative designated to monitor a specific operation. As a general rule, this authorization may be canceled when it is no longer required, there is an abuse of its provisions, or when unforeseen safety factors develop. Failure to comply with the authorization is cause for cancellation. The operator will receive written notice of cancellation.

B. Safety of Flight.

1. The operator or pilot in command (PIC) is responsible for halting or canceling activity in the COA area if, at any time, the safety of persons or property on the ground or in the air is in jeopardy, or if there is a failure to comply with the terms or conditions of this authorization.

See-and-Avoid
Unmanned aircraft have no on-board pilot to perform see-and-avoid responsibilities; therefore, when operating outside of active restricted and warning areas approved for aviation activities, provisions must be made to ensure an equivalent level of safety exists for unmanned operations consistent with 14 CFR Part 91 §91.111, §91.113 and §91.115.
a. The pilot in command (PIC) is responsible:

-To remain clear and give way to all manned aviation operations and activities at all times,
-For the safety of persons or property on the surface with respect to the UAS, and
-For compliance with CFR Parts 91.111, 91.113 and 91.115

b. UAS pilots will ensure there is a safe operating distance between aviation activities and unmanned aircraft (UA) at all times.

c. Visual observers must be used at all times and maintain instantaneous communication with the PIC.

d. The PIC is responsible to ensure visual observer(s) are:

-Able to see the UA and the surrounding airspace throughout the entire flight, and
-Able to provide the PIC with the UA’s flight path, and proximity to all aviation activities and other hazards (e.g., terrain, weather, structures) sufficiently for the PIC to exercise effective control of the UA to prevent the UA from creating a collision hazard.

e. Visual observer(s) must be able to communicate clearly to the pilot any instructions required to remain clear of conflicting traffic.

2. Pilots are reminded to follow all federal regulations e.g. remain clear of all Temporary Flight Restrictions, as well as following the exemption granted for their operation.
3. The operator or delegated representative must not operate in Prohibited Areas, Special Flight Rule Areas or, the Washington National Capital Region Flight Restricted Zone,
except operations in the Washington DC Special Flight Rule Area may be approved only with prior coordination with the Security Operations Support Center (SOSC) at 202-267- 8276. Such areas are depicted on charts available at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/. Additionally, aircraft operators should beware of and avoid other areas identified in Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) which restricts operations in proximity to Power Plants, Electric Substations, Dams, Wind Farms, Oil Refineries, Industrial Complexes, National Parks, The Disney Resorts, Stadiums, Emergency Services, the Washington DC Metro Flight Restricted Zone, Military or other Federal Facilities.
4. The unmanned aircraft will be registered prior to operations in accordance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

C. Reporting Requirements

1. Documentation of all operations associated with UAS activities is required regardless of the airspace in which the UAS operates. NOTE: Negative (zero flights) reports are required.
2. The operator must submit the following information through mailto:[email protected] on a monthly basis:

a. Name of Operator, Exemption number and Aircraft registration number
b. UAS type and model
c. All operating locations, to include location city/name and latitude/longitude
d. Number of flights (per location, per aircraft)
e. Total aircraft operational hours
f. Takeoff or Landing damage
g. Equipment malfunctions. Reportable malfunctions include, but are not limited to the following:

(1) On-board flight control system
(2) Navigation system
(3) Power plant failure in flight
(4) Fuel system failure
(5) Electrical system failure
(6) Control station failure

3. The number and duration of lost link events (control, performance and health monitoring, or communications) per UA per flight.
4. Incident/Accident/Mishap Reporting After an incident or accident that meets the criteria below, and within 24 hours of that incident, accident or event described below, the proponent must provide initial notification of the following to the FAA via email at [email protected] and via the UAS COA On-Line forms (Incident/Accident).

1. All accidents/mishaps involving UAS operations where any of the following occurs:

a. Fatal injury, where the operation of a UAS results in a death occurring within 30 days of the accident/mishap
b. Serious injury, where the operation of a UAS results in: (1) hospitalization for more than 48 hours, commencing within 7 days from the date of the injury was received; (2) results in a fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes, or nose); (3) causes severe hemorrhages, nerve, muscle, or tendon damage; (4) involves any internal organ; or (5) involves second- or third-degree burns, orany burns affecting more than 5 percent of the body surface.
c. Total unmanned aircraft loss
d. Substantial damage to the unmanned aircraft system where there is damage to the airframe, power plant, or onboard systems that must be repaired prior to further flight
e. Damage to property, other than the unmanned aircraft.

2. Any incident/mishap that results in an unsafe/abnormal operation including but not limited to

a. A malfunction or failure of the unmanned aircraft’s on-board flight control system (including navigation)
b. A malfunction or failure of ground control station flight control hardware or software (other than loss of control link)
c. A power plant failure or malfunction
d. An in-flight fire
e. An aircraft collision involving another aircraft.
f. Any in-flight failure of the unmanned aircraft’s electrical system requiring use of alternate or emergency power to complete the flight
g. A deviation from any provision contained in the COA
h. A deviation from an ATC clearance and/or Letter(s) of Agreement/Procedures
i. A lost control link event resulting in

(1) Fly-away, or
(2) Execution of a pre-planned/unplanned lost link procedure.

3. Initial reports must contain the information identified in the COA On-Line Accident/Incident Report.
4. Follow-on reports describing the accident/incident/mishap(s) must be submitted by providing copies of proponent aviation accident/incident reports upon completion of safety investigations.
5. Civil operators and Public-use agencies (other than those which are part of the Department of Defense) are advised that the above procedures are not a substitute for separate accident/incident reporting required by the National Transportation Safety Board under 49 CFR Part 830 §830.5.
6. For other than Department of Defense operations, this COA is issued with the provision that the FAA be permitted involvement in the proponent’s incident/accident/mishap investigation as prescribed by FAA Order 8020.11, Aircraft Accident and Incident Notification, Investigation, and Reporting.

D. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM). A distant (D) NOTAM must be issued when unmanned aircraft operations are being conducted. This requirement may be accomplished:

a. Through the operator’s local base operations or NOTAM issuing authority, or
b. By contacting the NOTAM Flight Service Station at 1-877-4-US-NTMS (1-877-487- 6867) not more than 72 hours in advance, but not less than 24 hours prior to the operation, unless otherwise authorized as a special provision. The issuing agency will require the:

(1) Name and address of the pilot filing the NOTAM request
(2) Location, altitude, or operating area
(3) Time and nature of the activity.
(4) Number of UAS flying in the operating area.

AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SPECIAL PROVISIONS
A. Coordination Requirements.

1. Operators and UAS equipment must meet the requirements (communication, equipment and clearance) of the class of airspace they will operate in.
2. Operator filing and the issuance of required distance (D) NOTAM, will serve as advance ATC facility notification of UAS operations in an area.
3. The area of operation defined in the NOTAM must only be for the actual area to be flown for each day defined by a point and the minimum radius required to conduct the operation.
4. Operator must cancel NOTAMs when UAS operations are completed or will not be conducted.
5. Coordination and de-confliction between Military Training Routes (MTRs) is the operator’s responsibility. When identifying an operational area the operator must evaluate whether an MTR will be affected. In the event the UAS operational area overlaps an MTR, the operator will contact the scheduling agency 24 hours in advance to coordinate and de-conflict. Approval from the scheduling agency is not required. Scheduling agencies are listed in the Area Planning AP/1B Military Planning Routes North and South America, if unable to gain access to AP/1B contact the FAA at email address [email protected] with the IR/VR routes affected and the FAA will provide the scheduling agency information. If prior coordination and de-confliction does not take place 24 hours in advance, the operator must remain clear of all MTRs.

B. Communication Requirements. When operating in the vicinity of an airport without an operating control tower, announce your operations in accordance with the FAA Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) 4-1- 9 Traffic Advisory Practices at Airports without Operating Control Towers.
C. Flight Planning Requirements.

Note: For all UAS requests not covered by the conditions listed below, the exemption holder may apply for a new Air Traffic Organization (ATO) Certificate of Waiver or
Authorization (COA) at https://oeaaa.faa.gov/oeaaa/external/uas/portal.jsp This COA will allow small UAS (55 pounds or less) operations during daytime VFR conditions under the following conditions and limitations:
(1) At or below 400 feet AGL; and
(2) Beyond the following distances from the airport reference point (ARP) of a public use airport, heliport, gliderport, or seaport listed in the Airport/Facility Directory, Alaska Supplement, or Pacific Chart Supplement of the U.S. Government Flight Information Publications.

a) 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower; or
b) 3 NM from an airport having a published instrument flight procedure, but not
having an operational control tower; or
c) 2 NM from an airport not having a published instrument flight procedure or an
operational control tower; or
d) 2 NM from a heliport

 

D. Emergency/Contingency Procedures.

1. Lost Link/Lost Communications Procedures:

a. If the UAS loses communications or loses its GPS signal, the UA must return to a pre-determined location within the private or controlled-access property and land.
b. The PIC must abort the flight in the event of unpredicted obstacles or emergencies.

2. Any incident, accident, or flight operation that transgresses the lateral or vertical boundaries defined in this COA must be reported to the FAA via email at [email protected] within 24 hours. Accidents must be
reported to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) per instructions contained on the NTSB Web site: www.ntsb.gov

AUTHORIZATION
This Certificate of Waiver or Authorization does not, in itself, waive any Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, nor any state law or local ordinance. Should the proposed operation conflict with any state law or local ordinance, or require permission of local authorities or property owners, it is the responsibility of the operator to resolve the matter. This COA does not authorize flight within Special Use airspace without approval from the scheduling agency. The operator is hereby authorized to operate the small Unmanned Aircraft System in the National Airspace System.

Example of a Public “Blanket” COA  (Version 1.0 ~ Mid-Late 2016)

I. STANDARD PROVISIONS

A. General.

The review of this activity is based upon current understanding of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) operations and their impact on the National Airspace System (NAS).This Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) will not be considered a precedent for future operations. As changes in, or understanding of, UAS operations occur, the associated limitations and conditions may be adjusted.

All personnel engaged in the operation of the UAS in accordance with this authorization must read and comply with the conditions, limitations, and provisions of this COA.

A copy of the COA including the special limitations must be immediately available to all operational personnel at each operating location whenever UAS operations are being conducted.

This COA may be canceled at any time by the Administrator, a person authorized to grant the authorization, or a representative designated to monitor a specific operation. As a general rule, this authorization may be canceled when it is no longer required, when there is an abuse of its provisions, or when unforeseen safety factors develop. Failure to comply with the authorization is cause for cancellation. All cancellations will be provided in writing to the proponent.

During the time this COA is approved and active, a site safety evaluation/visit may be accomplished to ensure COA compliance, assess any adverse impact on ATC or airspace, and ensure this COA is not burdensome or ineffective. Deviations, accidents/incidents/mishaps, complaints, etc. will prompt a COA review or site visit to address the issue. Refusal to allow a site safety evaluation/visit may result in cancellation of the COA. Note: This section does not pertain to agencies that have other existing agreements in place with the FAA.

Public Aircraft Operations are defined by statutes Title 49 USC §40102(a)(41) and §40125. All public aircraft operations conducted under a COA must comply with the terms of the statutes.

 

B. Airworthiness Certification.

The unmanned aircraft must be shown to be airworthy to conduct flight operations in the NAS. The proponent has made its own determination that the unmanned aircraft is airworthy. The unmanned aircraft must be operated in strict compliance with all provisions and conditions contained in the Airworthiness Safety Release (AWR), including all documents and provisions referenced in the COA application.

1. A configuration control program must be in place for hardware and/or software changes made to the UAS to ensure continued airworthiness. If a new or revised Airworthiness Release is generated as a result of changes in the hardware or software affecting the operating characteristics of the UAS, notify the UAS Integration Office via email at 9- [email protected] of the changes as soon as practical.

a. Software and hardware changes should be documented as part of the normal maintenance procedures. Software changes to the aircraft and control station as well as hardware system changes are classified as major changes unless the agency has a formal process accepted by the FAA. These changes should be provided to the UAS Integration Office in summary form at the time of incorporation.

b. Major modifications or changes, performed under the COA, or other authorizations that could potentially affect the safe operation of the system, must be documented and provided to the FAA in the form of a new AWR, unless the agency has a formal process, accepted by the FAA.

c. All previously flight proven systems, to include payloads, may be installed or removed as required and that activity must be recorded in the unmanned aircraft and ground control stations logbooks by persons authorized to conduct UAS maintenance. Describe any payload equipment configurations in the UAS logbook that will result in a weight and balance change, electrical loads, and or flight dynamics, unless the agency has a formal process, accepted by the FAA.

d. For unmanned aircraft system discrepancies, a record entry should be made by an appropriately rated person to document the finding in the logbook. No flights may be conducted following major changes, modifications or new installations unless the party responsible for certifying airworthiness has determined the system is safe to operate in the NAS and a new AWR is generated, unless the agency has a formal process, accepted by the FAA. The successful completion of these major changes, modifications or new installations must be recorded in the appropriate logbook, unless the agency has a formal process, accepted by the FAA.

2. The unmanned aircraft must be operated in strict compliance with all provisions and conditions contained within the spectrum analysis assigned and authorized for use within the defined operations area.

3. All items contained in the application for equipment frequency allocation must be adhered to, including the assigned frequencies and antenna equipment characteristics. A ground operational check to verify that the control station can communicate with the aircraft (frequency integration check) must be conducted prior to the launch of the unmanned aircraft to ensure any electromagnetic interference does not adversely affect control of the aircraft.

 

C. Safety of Flight.

1. The Proponent or delegated representative is responsible for halting or canceling activity conducted under the provisions of this COA if, at any time, the safety of persons or property on the ground or in the air is in jeopardy, or if there is a failure to comply with the terms or conditions of this authorization.

2. Sterile Cockpit Procedures.

a. No crewmember may perform any duties during a critical phase of flight not required for the safe operation of the aircraft.

b. Critical phases of flight include all ground operations involving:

1) Taxi (movement of an aircraft under its own power on the surface of an airport),

2) Take-off and landing (launch or recovery), and

3) All other flight operations in which safety or mission accomplishment might be compromised by distractions.

c. No crewmember may engage in, nor may any pilot in command (PIC) permit, any activity during a critical phase of flight which could:

1) Distract any crewmember from the performance of his/her duties, or

2) Interfere in any way with the proper conduct of those duties.

d. The pilot and/or the PIC must not engage in any activity not directly related to the operation of the aircraft. Activities include, but are not limited to: operating UAS sensors or other payload systems.

e. The use of cell phones or other electronic devices is restricted to communications pertinent to the operational control of the unmanned aircraft and any required communications with Air Traffic Control.

3. See-and-Avoid.

a. Unmanned aircraft have no on-board pilot to perform see-and-avoid responsibilities; therefore, when operating outside of active restricted and warning areas approved for aviation activities, provisions must be made to ensure that an equivalent level of safety exists for unmanned operations. Adherence to 14 CFR Part 91 §91.111, §91.113 and §91.115, is required.

1) The PIC is responsible: To remain clear and give way to all manned aviation operations and activities at all times, For the safety of persons or property on the surface with respect to the UAS operation, For ensuring that there is a safe operating distance between aviation activities and unmanned aircraft (UA) at all times, and For operating in compliance with CFR Parts 91.111, 91.113 and 91.115

b. The PIC is responsible to ensure that any visual observer (VO):

1) Can perform their required duties,

2) Are able to see the UA and the surrounding airspace throughout the entire flight, and 3) Are able to provide the PIC with the UA’s flight path and proximity to all aviation activities and other hazards (e.g., terrain, weather, structures) sufficiently for the PIC to exercise effective control of the UA to prevent the UA from creating a collision hazard.

c. VO(s) must be used at all times and must maintain instantaneous communication with the PIC. Electronic messaging or texting is not permitted during flight operations. d. The use of multiple successive VO(s) (daisy chaining) is prohibited.

e. VO(s) must be able to communicate clearly to the PIC any instructions required to remain clear of conflicting traffic.

f. All VO(s) must complete sufficient training to communicate to the PIC any information required to remain clear of conflicting traffic, terrain, and obstructions, maintain proper cloud clearances, and provide navigational awareness. This training, at a minimum, must include knowledge of:

1) Their responsibility to assist PICs in complying with the requirements of:  Section 91.111, Operating Near Other Aircraft,  Section 91.113, Right-of-Way Rules: Except Water Operations,  Section 91.115, Right-of-Way Rules: Water Operations,  Section 91.119, Minimum Safe Altitudes: General, and  Section 91.155, Basic VFR Weather Minimums

2) Air traffic and radio communications, including the use of approved air traffic control/pilot phraseology

3) Appropriate sections of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)

g. The Proponent must not operate in Restricted Areas, Prohibited Areas, Special Flight Rule Areas or the Washington DC Flight Restricted Zone. Such areas are depicted on charts available at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/. Additionally, aircraft operators should beware of and avoid other areas identified in Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) that restrict operations in proximity to Power Plants, Electric Substations, Dams, Wind Farms, Oil Refineries, Industrial Complexes, National Parks, The Disney Resorts, Stadiums, Emergency Services, Military or other Federal Facilities unless approval is received from the appropriate authority prior to the UAS Mission. h. The unmanned aircraft will be registered prior to operations in accordance with Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

 

D. Reporting Requirements

1. Documentation of all operations associated with UAS activities is required regardless of the airspace in which the UAS operates. NOTE: Negative (zero flights) reports are required.

2. The Proponent must submit the following information on a monthly basis to [email protected] :

a. Name of Proponent, and aircraft registration number,

b. UAS type and model,

c. All operating locations, to include city name and latitude/longitude,

d. Number of flights (per location, per aircraft),

e. Total aircraft operation hours,

f. Takeoff or landing damage, and

g. Equipment malfunction. Required reports include, but are not limited to, failures or malfunctions to the:

(1) Control station (2) Electrical system (3) Fuel system (4) Navigation system (5) On-board flight control system (6) Powerplant

3. The number and duration of lost link events (control, performance and health monitoring, or communications) per UAS, per flight.

4. Incident/Accident/Mishap Reporting After an incident or accident that meets the criteria below, and within 24 hours of that incident, accident or event described below, the proponent must provide initial notification of the following to the FAA via email at mailto: 9-AJV-115- [email protected] and via the UAS COA On-Line forms (Incident/Accident).

a. All accidents/mishaps involving UAS operations where any of the following occurs:

1) Fatal injury, where the operation of a UAS results in a death occurring within 30 days of the accident/mishap

2) Serious injury, where the operation of a UAS results in:  Hospitalization for more than 48 hours, commencing within 7 days from the date of the injury was received;  A fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes, or nose);  Severe hemorrhages, nerve, muscle, or tendon damage;   Involving any internal organ; or  Involves second- or third-degree burns, or any burns affecting more than 5 percent of the body surface.

3) Total unmanned aircraft loss

4) Substantial damage to the unmanned aircraft system where there is damage to the airframe, power plant, or onboard systems that must be repaired prior to further flight

5) Damage to property, other than the unmanned aircraft.

b. Any incident/mishap that results in an unsafe/abnormal operation including but not limited to

1) A malfunction or failure of the unmanned aircraft’s on-board flight control system (including navigation)

2) A malfunction or failure of ground control station flight control hardware or software (other than loss of control link)

3) A power plant failure or malfunction

4) An in-flight fire

5) An aircraft collision involving another aircraft.

6) Any in-flight failure of the unmanned aircraft’s electrical system requiring use of alternate or emergency power to complete the flight

7) A deviation from any provision contained in the COA

8) A deviation from an ATC clearance and/or Letter(s) of Agreement/Procedures

9) A lost control link event resulting in Fly-away, or Execution of a pre-planned/unplanned lost link procedure. c. Initial reports must contain the information identified in the COA On-Line Accident/Incident Report.

d. Follow-on reports describing the accident/incident/mishap(s) must be submitted by providing copies of proponent aviation accident/incident reports upon completion of safety investigations.

e. Civil operators and Public-use agencies (other than those which are part of the Department of Defense) are advised that the above procedures are not a substitute for separate accident/incident reporting required by the National Transportation Safety Board under 49 CFR Part 830 §830.5.

f. For other than Department of Defense operations, this COA is issued with the provision that the FAA be permitted involvement in the proponent’s incident/accident/mishap investigation as prescribed by FAA Order 8020.11, Aircraft Accident and Incident Notification, Investigation, and Reporting.

E. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM).

1. A distant (D) NOTAM must be issued prior to conducting UAS operations. This requirement may be accomplished:

a. Through the proponent’s local base operations or NOTAM issuing authority, or

b. By contacting the NOTAM Flight Service Station at 1-877-4-US-NTMS (1- 877-487- 6867) not more than 72 hours in advance, but not less than 24 hours for UAS operations prior to the operation. The issuing agency will require the:

1) Name and address of the pilot filing the NOTAM request

2) Location, altitude and operating area

3) Time and nature of the activity. Note: The NOTAM must identify actual coordinates and a Radial/DME fix of a prominent navigational aid, with a radius no larger than that where visual line of sight with the UA can be maintained. The NOTAM must be filed to indicate the defined operations area and periods of UA activity. NOTAMs for generalized, wide-area, or continuous periods are not acceptable.

II. FLIGHT STANDARDS SPECIAL PROVISIONS Failure to comply with any of the conditions and limitations of this COA will be grounds for the immediate suspension or cancellation of this COA.

1. Operations authorized by this COA are limited to UAS weighing less than 55 pounds, including payload. Proposed operations of any UAS weighing more than 55 pounds will require the Proponent to provide the FAA with a new airworthiness Certificate (if necessary), Registration N-Number, Aircraft Description, Control Station, Communication System Description, Picture of UAS and any Certified TSO components. Approval to operate the new UAS is contingent on acknowledgement from FAA of receipt of acceptable documentation.

2. External Load Operations, dropping or spraying aircraft stores, or carrying hazardous materials (including munitions) is prohibited.

3. The UA may not be operated at a speed exceeding 87 knots (100 miles per hour). The COA holder may use either groundspeed or calibrated airspeed to determine compliance with the 87 knot speed restriction. In no case will the UA be operated at airspeeds greater than the maximum operating airspeed recommended by the aircraft manufacturer.

4. The Proponent should conduct and document initial training at a specific training site that will allow for the conduct of scenario-based training exercises. This training should foster a high level of flight proficiency and promote efficient, standardized coordination among pilots, visual observers, and ground crew members. To ensure safety and compliance, the training site should be is well clear of housing areas, roads, nonparticipating persons, and watercraft. When the Proponent has determined that sufficient training scenarios have been completed to achieve an acceptable level of competency, the Proponent is authorized to conduct UAS public aircraft operations in accordance with Title 49 USC §§ Part 40125 at any location within the National Airspace System under the provisions of this COA.

5. The UA must be operated within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the Pilot in Command (PIC) and or the visual observer (VO) at all times. This requires the PIC and VO to be able to use human vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, as specified on their FAA-issued airman medical certificate or equivalent medical certification as determined by the government entity conducting the PAO. The VO may be used to satisfy the VLOS requirement as long as the PIC always maintains VLOS capability.

6. This COA and all documents needed to operate the UAS and conduct operations in accordance with the conditions and limitations stated in this COA are hereinafter referred to as the operating documents. The Proponent must follow the procedures as outlined in the operating documents. If a discrepancy exists within the operating documents, the procedures outlined in the approved COA take precedence and must be followed. The Proponent may update or revise the operating documents, excluding the approved COA, as needed. It is the Proponent’s responsibility to track such revisions and present updated and revised operating documents to the Administrator or any law enforcement official upon request. The Proponent must also present updated and revised documents if they petition for extension or amendment to this COA. If the Proponent determines that any update or revision would affect the basis upon which the FAA granted this COA, then the Proponent must petition for an amendment to this COA. The FAA’s UAS Integration Office (AFS−80) may be contacted if questions arise regarding updates or revisions to the operating documents.

7. The operating documents must be accessible during UAS operations and made available to the Administrator and/or law enforcement upon request.

8. Any UAS that has undergone maintenance or alterations that affect the UAS operation or flight characteristics, (e.g., replacement of a flight critical component), must undergo a functional test flight prior to conducting further operations under this COA. Functional test flights may only be conducted by a PIC with a VO and must remain at least 500 feet from other people. The functional test flight must be conducted in such a manner so as to not pose an undue hazard to persons and property.

9. The Proponent is responsible for maintaining and inspecting the UAS to ensure that it is in a condition for safe operation.

10. Prior to each flight, the PIC must conduct a pre-flight inspection and determine the UAS is in a condition for safe flight. The pre-flight inspection must account for all potential discrepancies (e.g. inoperable components, items, or equipment). If the inspection reveals a condition that affects the safe operation of the UAS, the aircraft is prohibited from operating until the necessary maintenance has been performed and the UAS is found to be in a condition for safe flight.

11. The Proponent must follow the UAS manufacturer’s maintenance; overhaul, replacement, inspection, and life limit requirements for the aircraft and aircraft components.

12. Each UAS operated under this COA must comply with all manufacturer safety bulletins.

13. Government entities conducting public aircraft operations (PAO) involve operations for the purpose of fulfilling a government function that meet certain conditions specified under Title 49 United States Code, Section 40102(a)(41) & 40125(a)(2). PAO is limited by the statute to certain government operations within U.S. airspace. These operations must comply with general operating rules including those applicable to all aircraft in the National Airspace System. Government entities may exercise their own internal processes regarding aircraft certification, airworthiness, pilot, aircrew, and maintenance personnel certification and training. If the government entity does not have an internal process for PIC certification, an acceptable equivalent is that PIC shall hold

a. Either an airline transport, commercial or private pilot certificate if UAS operations are within 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower, an airport having a published instrument flight procedure, but not having an operational control tower, or 2 NM from an airport not having a published instrument flight procedure or an operational control tower, or 2 NM from a heliport. The PIC must also meet the flight review requirements specified in 14 CFR § Part 61.56 in an aircraft in which the PIC is rated on his or her pilot certificate.

b. For UAS operations outside of these locations the government entity may utilize a ground based training course and successful completion of a FAA written examination at the private pilot level or higher (or an FAA-recognized equivalent). The PIC must also hold a current 2nd Class FAA airman medical certificate or equivalent medical certification as determined by the government entity conducting the PAO.

14. The Proponent may not permit any PIC to operate unless the PIC demonstrates the ability to safely operate the UAS in a manner consistent with how the UAS will be operated under this COA, including evasive and emergency maneuvers and maintaining appropriate distances from persons, vessels, vehicles and structures. PIC qualification flight hours and currency must be logged in a manner consistent with 14 CFR § Part 61.51(b). Flights for the purposes of training the Proponent’s PICs and VOs (training, proficiency, and experience-building) and determining the PIC’s ability to safely operate the UAS in a manner consistent with how the UAS will be operated under this COA are permitted under the terms of this COA. However, training operations may only be conducted during dedicated training sessions. During training, proficiency, and experience-building flights, all persons not essential for flight operations are considered nonparticipants, and the PIC must operate the UA with appropriate distance from nonparticipants in accordance with 14 CFR § Part 91.119.

15. Pilots are reminded to follow all federal regulations (e.g. remain clear of all Temporary Flight Restrictions). Additionally, operations over areas administered by the National Park Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or U.S. Forest Service must be conducted in accordance with Department of Interior/US Fish & Wildlife Service requirements. (See 50 CFR §§ Part 27.34 and FAA Aeronautical Information Manual Section 4, paragraph 7-4-6.)

16. The presence of observers during flight operations, other than initial or recurrent pilot in-command and visual observer training is authorized given compliance with the following provisions:

a. Observers will receive a safety briefing that addresses the mission intent, safety barriers, non-interference with UAS mission personnel, and emergency procedures in the event of an incident or accident.

b. Observers will be directed to, and contained within, a specific observation point that minimized the risk of injury and ensures that they do not interfere with the UAS mission.

c. Observers must have a valid Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) second-class medical certificate issued under 14 CFR part 67; an FAA-recognized equivalent is an acceptable means of demonstrating compliance with this requirement.

d. Proponent will ensure that observers do not engage in conversations, discussions, or interviews that distract any crewmember or mission personnel from the performance of his/her duties or interfere in any way with the proper conduct of those duties.

e. Proponent will limit the number of observers to that which can be adequately monitored and protected by personnel and resources onsite.

f. Operation will be conducted in compliance with ALL of the existing provisions, conditions and mitigations of this COA.

17. UAS operations may only be conducted during the daytime and may not be conducted during night, as defined in 14 CFR § Part 1.1. All operations must be conducted under visual meteorological conditions (VMC). Flights under special visual flight rules (SVFR) are not authorized.

18. The UA may not be operated less than 500 feet below or less than 2,000 feet horizontally from a cloud or when visibility is less than 3 statute miles from the PIC.

19. If the UAS loses communications or loses its GPS signal, the UA must return to a predetermined location within the defined operating area.

20. The PIC must abort the flight in the event of emergencies or flight conditions that could be a risk to persons and property within the operating area.

21. The PIC is prohibited from beginning a flight unless (considering wind and forecast weather conditions) there is enough available power for the UA to conduct the intended operation and to operate after that for at least five minutes or with the reserve power recommended by the manufacturer if greater than five minutes.

22. Documents used by the Proponent to ensure the safe operation of the UAS and any documents required under 14 CFR § Part 91.9 and Part 91.203 must be available to the PIC at the UAS Ground Control Station any time the aircraft is operating. These documents must be made available to the Administrator or any law enforcement official upon request.

23. The UA must remain clear and give way to all manned aviation operations and activities at all times.

24. The UAS may not be operated by the PIC from any moving vehicle unless the government entity conducting PAO has determined that such operations can be conducted without causing undue hazard to persons or property and has presented such safety procedures to the FAA. Safety procedures include, but not limited to, emergency procedures, lost link procedures, and consideration of terrain and obstructions that may restrict the ability to maintain visual line of sight. Operations must also comply with all applicable federal, state and local laws pertaining to operations from a moving vehicle.

25. All flight operations must be conducted at least 500 feet from all nonparticipating persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures.

III. AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SPECIAL PROVISIONS

A. Coordination Requirements.

1. Compliance with Standard Provisions, E. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) satisfies the coordination requirement. Operator must cancel NOTAMs when UAS operations are completed or will not be conducted.

2. Coordination and de-confliction between Military Training Routes (MTRs) is the Proponent’s responsibility. When identifying an operational area, the Proponent must evaluate whether an MTR will be affected. In the event the UAS operational area overlaps (5 miles either side of centerline) an MTR, the operator will contact the scheduling agency in advance to coordinate and de-conflict. Approval from the scheduling agency is not required.

B. Communication Requirements. When operating in the vicinity of an airport without an operating control tower the PIC will announce operations on appropriate Unicom/CTAF frequencies alerting manned pilots of UAS operations.

C. Flight Planning Requirements. This COA will allow small UAS (55 pounds or less) operations during daytime VMC conditions only within Class G airspace under the following limitations:

1. At or below 400 feet AGL, and

2. Beyond the following distances from the airport reference point (ARP) of a public use airport, heliport, gliderport, or water landing port listed in the Airport/Facility Directory, Alaska Supplement, or Pacific Chart Supplement of the U.S. Government Flight Information Publications:

a. 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower, or

b. 3 NM from an airport having a published instrument flight procedure, but not having an operational control tower, or

c. 2 NM from an airport not having a published instrument flight procedure or an operational control tower, or

d. 2 NM from a heliport.

3. The PIC is responsible for identifying the appropriate ATC jurisdiction nearest to the area of operations defined by the NOTAM.

D. Procedural Requirements. This COA authorizes the Proponent to conduct UAS flight operations strictly within a “defined operating area” as identified under the required provision of Section E. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) of this COA.

1. A “defined operating area” is described as a location identified by a Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Range (VOR) Radial/Distance Measuring Equipment (DME) fix. This location must have a defined perimeter that is no larger than that where visual line of sight with the UA can be maintained and a defined operational ceiling at or below 400’ Above the Ground (AGL).

2. UAS operations must remain within this “defined operating area”. The Proponent will discover and manage all risks and associated liabilities that exist within the defined operating area and all risks must be legitimately mitigated to assure the safety of people and property.

3. The UAS must remain within visual line of sight of the PIC and/or VO(s) at all times. The PIC and VO(s) must be positioned such that they can maintain sufficient visual contact with the UA in order to determine its attitude, altitude, and direction of flight. The PIC is responsible to ensure that the UA remains within the defined operating area. “Out of Sight”, or “Behind the Obstruction” flight operations are prohibited.

E. Emergency/Contingency Procedures.

1. Lost Link Procedures:

a. In the event of lost link, the UA must initiate a flight maneuver that ensures timely landing of the aircraft. Lost link airborne operations shall be predictable and the UA shall remain within the defined operating area filed in the NOTAM for that specific operation. In the event that the UA leaves the defined operating area, and the flight track of the UA could potentially enter controlled airspace, the PIC will immediately contact the appropriate ATC facility having jurisdiction over the controlled airspace to advise them of the UASs last known altitude, speed, direction of flight and estimated flight time remaining and the Proponent’s action to recover the UA.

b. Lost link orbit points will not coincide with the centerline of published Victor airways.

c. The UA lost link flight track will not transit or orbit over populated areas.

d. Lost link programmed procedures must de-conflict from all other unmanned operations within the operating area.

2. Lost Visual Line of Sight: If an observer loses sight of the UA, they must notify the PIC immediately. If the UA is visually reacquired promptly, the mission may continue. If not, the PIC will immediately execute the lost link procedures.

 3. Lost Communications: If communication is lost between the PIC and the observer(s), the PIC must immediately execute the lost link procedures.

IV. AUTHORIZATION This Certificate of Waiver or Authorization does not, in itself, waive any Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations, nor any state law or local ordinance. Should the proposed operation conflict with any state law or local ordinance, or require permission of local authorities or property owners, it is the responsibility of the University of Kentucky to resolve the matter. This COA does not authorize flight within in Restricted Areas, Prohibited Areas, Special Flight Rule Areas or the Washington DC Federal Restricted Zone (FRZ) without pre-approval. The University of Kentucky is hereby authorized to operate the Unmanned Aircraft System in the National Airspace System.

 

Public “Blanket” COA (Version 1.2)

STANDARD PROVISIONS
A. General.
The review of this activity is based upon current understanding of Unmanned Aircraft
System (UAS) operations and their impact on the National Airspace System (NAS).This
Certificate of Waiver or Authorization (COA) will not be considered a precedent for future
operations. As changes in, or understanding of, UAS operations occur, the associated
limitations and conditions may be adjusted.
All personnel engaged in the operation of the UAS in accordance with this authorization
must read and comply with the conditions, limitations, and provisions of this COA.
A copy of the COA including the special limitations must be immediately available to all
operational personnel at each operating location whenever UAS operations are being
conducted.
This COA may be canceled at any time by the Administrator, a person authorized to grant
the authorization, or a representative designated to monitor a specific operation. As a
general rule, this authorization may be canceled when it is no longer required, when there is
an abuse of its provisions, or when unforeseen safety factors develop. Failure to comply
with the authorization is cause for cancellation. All cancellations will be provided in writing
to the proponent.
During the time this COA is approved and active, a site safety evaluation/visit may be
accomplished to ensure COA compliance, assess any adverse impact on ATC or airspace,
and ensure this COA is not burdensome or ineffective. Deviations,
accidents/incidents/mishaps, complaints, etc. will prompt a COA review or site visit to
address the issue. Refusal to allow a site safety evaluation/visit may result in cancellation of
the COA. Note: This section does not pertain to agencies that have other existing
agreements in place with the FAA.
Public Aircraft Operations are defined by statutes 49 USC §40102(a)(41) and §40125.All
public aircraft operations conducted under a COA must comply with the terms of the
statutes.
B. Airworthiness Certification.
The unmanned aircraft must be shown to be airworthy to conduct flight operations in the
NAS. The proponent has made its own determination that the unmanned aircraft is
airworthy. The unmanned aircraft must be operated in strict compliance with all provisions
and conditions contained in the Airworthiness Safety Release (AWR), including all
documents and provisions referenced in the COA application.
1. A configuration control program must be in place for hardware and/or software changes
made to the UAS to ensure continued airworthiness. If a new or revised Airworthiness
Release is generated as a result of changes in the hardware or software affecting the
operating characteristics of the UAS, notify the UAS Integration Office via email at 9-
[email protected] of the changes as soon as practical.
a. Software and hardware changes should be documented as part of the normal
maintenance procedures. Software changes to the aircraft and control station as well
as hardware system changes are classified as major changes unless the agency has a
formal process accepted by the FAA. These changes should be provided to the UAS
Integration Office in summary form at the time of incorporation.
b. Major modifications or changes, performed under the COA, or other authorizations
that could potentially affect the safe operation of the system, must be documented
and provided to the FAA in the form of a new AWR, unless the agency has a formal
process, accepted by the FAA.
c. All previously flight proven systems, to include payloads, may be installed or
removed as required and that activity must be recorded in the unmanned aircraft and
ground control stations logbooks by persons authorized to conduct UAS
maintenance. Describe any payload equipment configurations in the UAS logbook
that will result in a weight and balance change, electrical loads, and or flight
dynamics, unless the agency has a formal process, accepted by the FAA.
d. For unmanned aircraft system discrepancies, a record entry should be made by an
appropriately rated person to document the finding in the logbook. No flights may
be conducted following major changes, modifications or new installations unless the
party responsible for certifying airworthiness has determined the system is safe to
operate in the NAS and a new AWR is generated, unless the agency has a formal
process, accepted by the FAA. The successful completion of these major changes,
modifications or new installations must be recorded in the appropriate logbook,
unless the agency has a formal process, accepted by the FAA.
2. The unmanned aircraft must be operated in strict compliance with all provisions and
conditions contained within the spectrum analysis assigned and authorized for use
within the defined operations area.
3. All items contained in the application for equipment frequency allocation must be
adhered to, including the assigned frequencies and antenna equipment characteristics. A
ground operational check to verify that the control station can communicate with the
aircraft (frequency integration check) must be conducted prior to the launch of the
unmanned aircraft to ensure any electromagnetic interference does not adversely affect
control of the aircraft
C. Safety of Flight.
1. The proponent or delegated representative is responsible for halting or canceling
activity conducted under the provisions of this COA if, at any time, the safety of
persons or property on the ground or in the air is in jeopardy, or if there is a failure to
comply with the terms or conditions of this authorization.
2. Sterile Cockpit Procedures.
a. No crewmember may perform any duties during a critical phase of flight not
required for the safe operation of the aircraft.
b. Critical phases of flight include all ground operations involving:
1) Taxi (movement of an aircraft under its own power on the surface of an airport),
2) Take-off and landing (launch or recovery), and
3) All other flight operations in which safety or mission accomplishment might be
compromised by distractions.
c. No crewmember may engage in, nor may any pilot in command (PIC) permit, any
activity during a critical phase of flight which could:
1) Distract any crewmember from the performance of his/her duties, or
2) Interfere in any way with the proper conduct of those duties.
d. The pilot and/or the PIC must not engage in any activity not directly related to the
operation of the aircraft. Activities include, but are not limited to: operating UAS
sensors or other payload systems.
e. The use of cell phones or other electronic devices is restricted to communications
pertinent to the operational control of the unmanned aircraft and any required
communications with Air Traffic Control.
3. See-and-Avoid.
a. Unmanned aircraft have no on-board pilot to perform see-and-avoid responsibilities;
therefore, when operating outside of active restricted and warning areas approved
for aviation activities, provisions must be made to ensure that an equivalent level of
safety exists for unmanned operations. Adherence to 14 CFR Part 91 §91.111,
§91.113 and §91.115, is required.
1) The PIC is responsible:
(a) To remain clear and give way to all manned aviation operations and
activities at all times,
(b) For the safety of persons or property on the surface with respect to the
UAS operation,
(c) For ensuring that there is a safe operating distance between aviation
activities and unmanned aircraft (UA) at all times, and
(d) For operating in compliance with CFR Parts 91.111, 91.113 and 91.115
2) The PIC is responsible to ensure that any visual observer (VO):
(a) Can perform their required duties,
(b) Are able to see the UA and the surrounding airspace throughout the entire
flight, and
(b) Are able to provide the PIC with the UA’s flight path and proximity to
all aviation activities and other hazards (e.g., terrain, weather,
structures) sufficiently for the PIC to exercise effective control of the
UA to prevent the UA from creating a collision hazard.
3) VO(s) must be used at all times and must maintain instantaneous communication
with the PIC. Electronic messaging or texting is not permitted during flight
operations.
4) The use of multiple successive VO(s) (daisy chaining) is prohibited.
5) VO(s) must be able to communicate clearly to the PIC any instructions required
to remain clear of conflicting traffic.
6) All VO(s) must complete sufficient training to communicate to the PIC any
information required to remain clear of conflicting traffic, terrain, and
obstructions, maintain proper cloud clearances, and provide navigational
awareness. This training, at a minimum, must include knowledge of:
(a) Their responsibility to assist PICs in complying with the requirements of:
· Section 91.111, Operating Near Other Aircraft,
· Section 91.113, Right-of-Way Rules: Except Water Operations,
· Section 91.115, Right-of-Way Rules: Water Operations,
· Section 91.119, Minimum Safe Altitudes: General, and
· Section 91.155, Basic VFR Weather Minimums
(b) Air traffic and radio communications, including the use of approved air
traffic control (ATC)/pilot phraseology
(c) Appropriate sections of the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
b. The proponent must not operate in Restricted Areas, Prohibited Areas, Special
Flight Rule Areas or the Washington DC Flight Restricted Zone. Such areas are
depicted on charts available at http://www.faa.gov/air_traffic/flight_info/aeronav/.
Additionally, aircraft operators should beware of and avoid other areas identified in

Notices to Airmen (NOTAMS) that restrict operations in proximity to Power Plants,
Electric Substations, Dams, Wind Farms, Oil Refineries, Industrial Complexes,
National Parks, The Disney Resorts, Stadiums, Emergency Services, Military or
other Federal Facilities unless approval is received from the appropriate authority
prior to the UAS Mission.
c. The unmanned aircraft will be registered prior to operations in accordance with Title
14 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
D. Reporting Requirements
1. Documentation of all operations associated with UAS activities is required regardless
of the airspace in which the UAS operates. NOTE: Negative (zero flights) reports are
required.
2. The proponent must submit the following information on a monthly basis to
UAS COA On-Line:
a. Name of proponent, and aircraft registration number,
b. UAS type and model,
c. All operating locations, to include city name and latitude/longitude,
d. Number of flights (per location, per aircraft),
e. Total aircraft operation hours,
f. Takeoff or landing damage, and
g. Equipment malfunction. Required reports include, but are not limited to, failures or
malfunctions to the:
1) Control station
2) Electrical system
3) Fuel system
4) Navigation system
5) On-board flight control system
6) Powerplant
3. The number and duration of lost link events (control, performance and health
monitoring, or communications) per UAS, per flight.
4. Incident/Accident/Mishap Reporting
After an incident or accident that meets the criteria below, and within 24 hours of that
incident, accident or event described below, the proponent must provide initial
notification of the following to the FAA via email at mailto: 9-AJV-115-
[email protected] and via the UAS COA On-Line forms (Incident/Accident).
a. All accidents/mishaps involving UAS operations where any of the following occurs:
1) Fatal injury, where the operation of a UAS results in a death occurring within 30
days of the accident/mishap
2) Serious injury, where the operation of a UAS results in:
(a) Hospitalization for more than 48 hours, commencing within 7 days from the
date of the injury was received;
(b) A fracture of any bone (except simple fractures of fingers, toes, or nose);
(c) Severe hemorrhages, nerve, muscle, or tendon damage;
(d) Involving any internal organ; or
(e) Involves second- or third-degree burns, or any burns affecting more than 5
percent of the body surface.
3) Total unmanned aircraft loss
4) Substantial damage to the unmanned aircraft system where there is damage to
the airframe, power plant, or onboard systems that must be repaired prior to
further flight
5) Damage to property, other than the unmanned aircraft.
b. Any incident/mishap that results in an unsafe/abnormal operation including but not
limited to
1) A malfunction or failure of the unmanned aircraft’s on-board flight control
system (including navigation)
2) A malfunction or failure of ground control station flight control hardware or
software (other than loss of control link)
3) A power plant failure or malfunction
4) An in-flight fire
5) An aircraft collision involving another aircraft.
6) Any in-flight failure of the unmanned aircraft’s electrical system requiring use
of alternate or emergency power to complete the flight
7) A deviation from any provision contained in the COA
8) A deviation from an ATC clearance and/or Letter(s) of Agreement/Procedures
9) A lost control link event resulting in
(a) Fly-away, or
(b) Execution of a pre-planned/unplanned lost link procedure.
c. Initial reports must contain the information identified in the COA On-Line
Accident/Incident Report.
d. Follow-on reports describing the accident/incident/mishap(s) must be submitted by
providing copies of proponent aviation accident/incident reports upon completion of
safety investigations.
e. Civil operators and Public-use agencies (other than those which are part of the
Department of Defense) are advised that the above procedures are not a substitute
for separate accident/incident reporting required by the National Transportation
Safety Board under 49 CFR Part 830 §830.5.
f. For other than Department of Defense operations, this COA is issued with the
provision that the FAA be permitted involvement in the proponent’s
incident/accident/mishap investigation as prescribed by FAA Order 8020.11,
Aircraft Accident and Incident Notification, Investigation, and Reporting.
E. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM).
A distant (D) NOTAM must be issued when unmanned aircraft operations are being
conducted unless notification of UAS operations will compromise the safety of the public
agency. This requirement may be accomplished:
1. Through the proponent’s local base operations or NOTAM issuing authority, or
2. By contacting the NOTAM Flight Service Station at 1-877-4-US-NTMS (1-877-487-
6867) not more than 72 hours in advance, but not less than 24 hours for UAS operations
prior to the operation. The issuing agency will require the:
a. Name and address of the pilot filing the NOTAM request
b. Location, altitude and operating area
c. Time and nature of the activity.
Note: The NOTAM must identify actual coordinates and a Radial/DME fix of a prominent
navigational aid, with a radius no larger than that where visual line of sight with the UA
can be maintained. The NOTAM must be filed to indicate the defined operations area and
periods of UA activity. NOTAMs for generalized, wide-area, or continuous periods are not
acceptable.
3. Due to the immediacy of some tactical operations, it is understood by the Federal
Aviation Administration that this NOTAM notification may be reduced to no less than
30 minutes prior to these operations.
FLIGHT STANDARDS SPECIAL PROVISIONS
Failure to comply with any of the conditions and limitations of this COA will be grounds for
the immediate suspension or cancellation of this COA.
1. Operations authorized by this COA are limited to UAS weighing less than 55 pounds,
including payload. Proposed operations of any UAS weighing more than 55 pounds will
require the proponent to provide the FAA with a new airworthiness Certificate (if
necessary), Registration, Aircraft Description, Control Station, Communication System
Description, Picture of UAS and any Certified TSO components. Approval to operate the
new UAS is contingent on acknowledgement from FAA of receipt of acceptable
documentation.
2. External Load Operations, dropping or spraying aircraft stores, or carrying hazardous
materials (including munitions) is prohibited.
3. The UA may not be operated at a speed exceeding 87 knots (100 miles per hour). The COA
holder may use either groundspeed or calibrated airspeed to determine compliance with the
87 knot speed restriction. In no case will the UA be operated at airspeeds greater than the
maximum operating airspeed recommended by the aircraft manufacturer.
4. The proponent shall conduct and document initial training at a specific training site that will
allow for the conduct of scenario-based training exercises. This training should foster a high
level of flight proficiency and promote efficient, standardized coordination among pilots,
visual observers, and ground crew members. To ensure safety and compliance, the training
site should be well clear of housing areas, roads, non-participating persons, and watercraft.
When the proponent has determined that sufficient training scenarios have been completed
to achieve an acceptable level of competency, the proponent is authorized to conduct UAS
public aircraft operations in accordance with Title 49 USC §§ Part 40125 at any location
within the National Airspace System under the provisions of this COA.
5. The UA must be operated within visual line of sight (VLOS) of the Pilot in Command
(PIC) and or the visual observer (VO) at all times. This requires the PIC and VO to be able
to use human vision unaided by any device other than corrective lenses, as specified on
their FAA-issued airman medical certificate or equivalent medical certification as
determined by the government entity conducting the PAO. The VO may be used to satisfy
the VLOS requirement as long as the PIC always maintains VLOS capability.
6. This COA and all documents needed to operate the UAS and conduct operations in
accordance with the conditions and limitations stated in this COA are hereinafter referred to
as the operating documents. The Proponent must follow the procedures as outlined in the
operating documents. If a discrepancy exists within the operating documents, the
procedures outlined in the approved COA take precedence and must be followed. The
proponent may update or revise the operating documents, excluding the approved COA, as
needed. It is the proponent’s responsibility to track such revisions and present updated and
revised operating documents to the Administrator or any law enforcement official upon
request. The proponent must also present updated and revised documents if they petition for
extension or amendment to this COA. If the proponent determines that any update or
revision would affect the basis upon which the FAA granted this COA, then the proponent
must petition for an amendment to this COA. The FAA’s UAS Integration Office (AFS−80)
may be contacted if questions arise regarding updates or revisions to the operating
documents.
7. The operating documents must be accessible during UAS operations and made available to
the Administrator and/or law enforcement upon request.
8. Any UAS that has undergone maintenance or alterations that affect the UAS operation or
flight characteristics, (e.g., replacement of a flight critical component), must undergo a
functional test flight prior to conducting further operations under this COA. Functional test
flights may only be conducted by a PIC with a VO and essential ground crew, and must
remain at least 500 feet from other people. The functional test flight must be conducted in
such a manner so as to not pose an undue hazard to persons and property.
9. The proponent is responsible for maintaining and inspecting the UAS to ensure that it is in a
condition for safe operation.
10. Prior to each flight, the PIC must conduct a pre-flight inspection and determine the UAS is
in a condition for safe flight. The pre-flight inspection must account for all potential
discrepancies (e.g. inoperable components, items, or equipment). If the inspection reveals a
condition that affects the safe operation of the UAS, the aircraft is prohibited from
operating until the necessary maintenance has been performed and the UAS is found to be
in a condition for safe flight.
11. The proponent must follow the UAS manufacturer’s maintenance; overhaul, replacement,
inspection, and life limit requirements for the aircraft and aircraft components.
12. Each UAS operated under this COA must comply with all manufacturer safety bulletins.
13. Government entities conducting public aircraft operations (PAO) involve operations for the
purpose of fulfilling a government function that meet certain conditions specified under
Title 49 United States Code, Section 40102(a)(41) & 40125(a)(2). PAO is limited by the
statute to certain government operations within U.S. airspace. These operations must
comply with general operating rules including those applicable to all aircraft in the National
Airspace System. Government entities may exercise their own internal processes regarding
aircraft certification, airworthiness, pilot, aircrew, and maintenance personnel certification
and training.
14. The Proponent may not permit any PIC to operate unless the PIC demonstrates the ability to
safely operate the UAS in a manner consistent with how the UAS will be operated under
this COA, including evasive and emergency maneuvers and maintaining appropriate
distances from persons, vessels, vehicles and structures. PIC qualification flight hours and
currency must be logged in a manner consistent with 14 CFR § Part 61.51(b). Flights for
the purposes of training the proponent’s PICs and VOs (training, proficiency, and
experience-building) and determining the PIC’s ability to safely operate the UAS in a
manner consistent with how the UAS will be operated under this COA are permitted under
the terms of this COA. However, training operations may only be conducted during
dedicated training sessions. During training, proficiency, and experience-building flights,
all persons not essential for flight operations are considered nonparticipants, and the PIC
must operate the UA with appropriate distance from nonparticipants in accordance with 14
CFR § Part 91.119.
15. Pilots are reminded to follow all federal regulations (e.g. remain clear of all Temporary
Flight Restrictions). Additionally, operations over areas administered by the National Park
Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, or U.S. Forest Service must be conducted in
accordance with Department of Interior/US Fish & Wildlife Service requirements. (See 50
CFR §§ Part 27.34 and FAA Aeronautical Information Manual Section 4, paragraph 7-4-6.)
16. The presence of observers (i.e. spectators) during flight operations, other than initial or
recurrent pilot-in-command and visual observer training is authorized given compliance
with the following provisions:
a. Observers will receive a safety briefing that addresses the mission intent, safety barriers,
non-interference with UAS mission personnel, and emergency procedures in the event
of an incident or accident.
b. Observers will be directed to, and contained within, a specific observation point that
minimized the risk of injury and ensures that they do not interfere with the UAS
mission.
c. Proponent will ensure that observers do not engage in conversations, discussions, or
interviews that distract any crewmember or mission personnel from the performance of
his/her duties or interfere in any way with the proper conduct of those duties.
d. Proponent will limit the number of observers to that which can be adequately monitored
and protected by personnel and resources onsite.
e. Operation will be conducted in compliance with ALL of the existing provisions,
conditions and mitigations of this COA.
17. UAS operations may be conducted during the day or night (see Flight Standards Special
Provision 25 for night operations) as defined in 14 CFR § Part 1.1. All operations must be
conducted under visual meteorological conditions (VMC). Flights under special visual
flight rules (SVFR) are not authorized.
18. The UA may not be operated less than 500 feet below or less than 2,000 feet horizontally
from a cloud or when visibility is less than 3 statute miles from the PIC.
19. If the UAS loses communications or loses its GPS signal, the UA must return to a predetermined
location within the defined operating area.
20. The PIC must abort the flight in the event of emergencies or flight conditions that could be
a risk to persons and property within the operating area.
21. The PIC is prohibited from beginning a flight unless (considering wind and forecast
weather conditions) there is enough available power for the UA to conduct the intended
operation and to operate after that for at least five minutes or with the reserve power
recommended by the manufacturer if greater than five minutes.
22. Documents used by the proponent to ensure the safe operation of the UAS and any
documents required under 14 CFR § Part 91.9 and Part 91.203 must be available to the PIC
at the UAS Ground Control Station any time the aircraft is operating. These documents
must be made available to the Administrator or any law enforcement official upon request.
23. The UA must remain clear and give way to all manned aviation operations and activities at
all times.
24. The UAS may not be operated by the PIC from any moving vehicle unless the government
entity conducting PAO has determined that such operations can be conducted without
causing undue hazard to persons or property and has presented such safety procedures to
the FAA. Safety procedures include, but not limited to, emergency procedures, lost link
procedures, and consideration of terrain and obstructions that may restrict the ability to
maintain visual line of sight. Operations must also comply with all applicable federal, state
and local laws pertaining to operations from a moving vehicle.
25. Small UAS operations may be conducted at night, as defined in 14 CFR § 1.1, provided:
a. All operations under the approved COA must use one or more visual observers (VO);
b. Prior to conducting operations that are the subject of the COA, the remote pilot in
command (PIC) and VO must be trained to recognize and overcome visual illusions
caused by darkness, and understand physiological conditions which may degrade
night vision. This training must be documented and must be presented for inspection
upon request from the Administrator or an authorized representative;
c. The sUA must be equipped with lighted anti-collision lighting visible from a distance
of no less than 3 statute miles. The intensity of the anti-collision lighting may be
reduced if, because of operating conditions, it would be in the interest of safety to do
so.
Note: Night, as defined in 14 CFR § 1.1 is equal to approximately 30 minutes after sunset
until 30 minutes before sunrise.
AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SPECIAL PROVISIONS
A. Coordination Requirements.
1. Compliance with Standard Provisions, E. Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) satisfies the
coordination requirement. Operator must cancel NOTAMs when UAS operations
are completed or will not be conducted.
2. Coordination and de-confliction between Military Training Routes (MTR) and
Special Use Airspace (SUA) is the operator’s responsibility. When identifying an
operational area the operator must evaluate whether an MTR or SUA will be
affected. In the event the UAS operational area overlaps an MTR or SUA, the
operator will contact the scheduling agency in advance to coordinate and deconflict.
Approval from the scheduling agency for MTR and non-regulatory SUA
is not required. Scheduling agencies for MTRs are listed in the Area Planning
AP/1B Military Planning Routes North and South America. Scheduling agencies
for SUAs are listed in the FAA JO 7400.8.
B. Communication Requirements.
When operating in the vicinity of an airport without an operating control tower the PIC will
announce operations on appropriate Unicom/CTAF frequencies alerting manned pilots of
UAS operations.
C. Flight Planning Requirements.
This COA will allow small UAS (weighing less than 55 pounds) operations during daytime
VMC conditions only within Class G airspace under the following limitations:
a. At or below 400 feet AGL, and
b. Beyond the following distances from the airport reference point (ARP) of a public use
airport, heliport, gliderport, or water landing port listed in the Airport/Facility Directory,
Alaska Supplement, or Pacific Chart Supplement of the U.S. Government Flight
Information Publications:
1) 5 nautical miles (NM) from an airport having an operational control tower, or
2) 3 NM from an airport having a published instrument flight procedure, but not
having an operational control tower, or
3) 2 NM from an airport not having a published instrument flight procedure or an
operational control tower, or
4) 2 NM from a heliport.
c. The PIC is responsible for identifying the appropriate ATC jurisdiction nearest to the
area of operations defined by the NOTAM.
D. Procedural Requirements.
1. This COA authorizes the proponent to conduct UAS flight operations strictly within a
“defined incident perimeter” as identified under the required provision of Section IE.
Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) of this COA.
2. All Flights operations must be conducted at least 500 feet from all nonparticipating
persons, vessels, vehicles, and structures unless:
a. A “defined operating area” is described as a location identified by a Very High
Frequency Omnidirectional Range (VOR) Radial/Distance Measuring Equipment
(DME) fix. This location must have a defined perimeter that is no larger than that
where visual line of sight with the UA can be maintained and a defined
operational ceiling at or below 400’ Above the Ground (AGL).
b. The “defined incident perimeter” is established by means of barriers, structures or
public safety officials authorized to sufficiently protect nonparticipating persons
from entering the perimeter of the operating area.
c. UAS operations must remain within this “defined incident perimeter” controlled
by law enforcement at or below 400 feet AGL. The proponent and supporting law
enforcement/first responder/safety agencies will discover and manage all risks
and associated liabilities that exist within the defined operating perimeter and all
risks must be legitimately mitigated to assure the safety of people and property.
d. The PIC has made a safety assessment of the risk of operating closer to those
objects and determined that it does not present an undue hazard and flight
operations will not be conducted directly over nonparticipating persons. The PIC,
VO, operator trainees or essential persons are not considered nonparticipating
persons under this provision.
E. Emergency/Contingency Procedures.
1. Lost Link Procedures:
a. In the event of lost link, the UA must initiate a flight maneuver that ensures timely
landing of the aircraft. Lost link airborne operations shall be predictable and the UA
shall remain within the defined operating area filed in the NOTAM for that specific
operation. In the event that the UA leaves the defined operating area, and the flight
track of the UA could potentially enter controlled airspace, the PIC will immediately
contact the appropriate ATC facility having jurisdiction over the controlled airspace
to advise them of the UASs last known altitude, speed, direction of flight and
estimated flight time remaining and the Proponent’s action to recover the UA.
b. Lost link orbit points will not coincide with the centerline of published Victor
airways.
c. The UA lost link flight track will not transit or orbit over populated areas.
d. Lost link programmed procedures must de-conflict from all other unmanned
operations within the operating area.
2. Lost Visual Line of Sight:
A VO loses sight of the UA, they must notify the PIC immediately. If the UA is visually
reacquired promptly, the mission may continue. If not, the PIC will immediately
execute the lost link procedures.
3. Lost Communications:
If communication is lost between the PIC and the VO(s), the PIC must immediately
execute the lost link procedures.


How to Get Your $5 Drone Registration Refund & Info Deleted.

drone-registration-refundBrief Background

In February 2012, Congress passed the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. In this Act, Section 336 told the FAA to not create a rule or regulation governing model aircraft that meet all 5 elements. This is not all model or recreational aircraft, but ONLY those that meet all of the qualifications listed in Section 336.

The FAA created a set of drone registration regulations back in the fall of 2015 that applied to model aircraft and non-model aircraft. On December 24, 2015, John Taylor, along with my help, sued the FAA in the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. For an in-depth discussion on the case, read my complete guide to the Taylor v. FAA lawsuit.

On May 19, 2017, the D.C. Circuit ruled “that Taylor’s petition for review of the Registration Rule be granted and the Registration Rule to the extent it applies to model aircraft be vacated[.]” The FAA had a chance to appeal the case, but they did not so on July 3, 2017, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling went into effect. Shortly after the ruling went into effect, the FAA made an announcement that you can request a $5 refund AND also have your information deleted.

 

FAA’s Drone Refund/ Info Delete Announcement

Here is what the announcement said:

The FAA is providing the following updated information regarding the Small UAS Registration and Marking interim final rule as a result of a recent decision (PDF) by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit regarding the small UAS registration program.

The court’s decision invalidated the registration requirement as it applies to certain model aircraft that meet the definitional and operational requirements provided in section 336 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act (PDF). Owners of model aircraft which are operated in compliance with section 336 are not required to register. Owners of all other small unmanned aircraft, including newly-purchased unmanned aircraft not operated exclusively in compliance with section 336, remain subject to the registration requirement. The FAA continues to encourage voluntary registration for all owners of small unmanned aircraft.

The FAA is working on a final rule with respect to registration and marking that will implement the court’s decision. In the meantime, if you are an owner operating exclusively in compliance with section 336 and you wish to delete your registration and receive a refund of your registration fee, you may do so by accessing a registration deletion and self-certification form (PDF) and mailing it to the FAA at the address designated on the form. Owners who already received a refund during the initial grace period are not eligible to receive a refund. This form has been submitted to the Office of Management and Budget for approval of the information collection.

Who Does This Apply To?

The D.C. Circuit’s ruling applied ONLY to recreational flyers who fall within the protections of Section 336. This did NOT apply to commercial flyers. Not all recreational flyers fall into the Section 336 protected category. I would say many are actually Part 107 recreational flyers who ARE required to fly with a registered drone. Basically, flying recreationally does not by itself mean you are in the protected class. See my discussion on Part 107 recreational vs. Section 336 recreational for a more in-depth discussion.

Where Does the FAA go From Here?

The announcement said, “The FAA is working on a final rule with respect to registration and marking that will implement the court’s decision.” The rulemaking process to create regulations takes a long time to complete. You are looking at roughly 3 years at a minimum. So it looks like the FAA might be moving in the direction to fix the regulations in Part 48 that speak to model aircraft. (E.g. 14 CFR 48.100 “Required information: Individuals intending to use the small unmanned aircraft exclusively as a model aircraft.”)

Additionally, I don’t think this will happen anytime soon because the FAA has enough on its plate trying to get out the over people regulations and extended operations regulations. Constraining those efforts is President Trump’s executive order requiring 2 regulations to be repealed for every new regulation created unless an exemption is obtained from the Office of Management and Budget.

 

Words of Warning Before Filling it Out

1. Can you really trust the FAA with your bank account information?  

You have to give the FAA your name, address, and financial institution information.  Kinda messed up if you ask me. You have to give MORE confidential information to the FAA to get the $5 back and information deleted that was illegally obtained. I wouldn’t waste my time for the $5. The deletion of the personal information is the only thing I would be interested in.

 

2. By signing this document, you could create problems for yourself in the future.

The instructions say, “On the first page, in order to self-certify, please check each applicable stipulation in the list of section 336 provisions. If each provision is not checked, your record deletion and refund will not be processed.” There are multiple problematic statements in this document which could cause problems down the line in future enforcement actions. I’m not going to get into all the problems or why there are problems because at the end of the day, you are not my client and I’m not your attorney. If you want to find out more about the problems, you might want to hire an aviation attorney to find out.

 

The delete registration and request refund document is located here.

 

 


Georgia Drone Laws (2017)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Traveling? Click here to see other US drone laws by state.

 Current as of July 1, 2017

6-1-4 of Official Code of Georgia Annotated

(a)

(1) As used in this Code section, the term ‘unmanned aircraft system’ means a powered, aerial vehicle that:

(A) Does not carry a human operator and is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft;

(B) Uses aerodynamic forces to provide vehicle lift;

(C) Can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely; and

(D) Can be expendable or recoverable.

(2) Such term shall not include a satellite.

(b) Any ordinance, resolution, regulation, or policy of any county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state regulating the testing or operation of unmanned aircraft systems shall be deemed preempted and shall be null, void, and of no force and effect; provided, however, that a county, municipality, or other political subdivision of this state may:

(1) Enforce any ordinance that was adopted on or before April 1, 2017;

(2) Adopt an ordinance that enforces Federal Aviation Administration restrictions; or

(3) Adopt an ordinance that provides for or prohibits the launch or intentional landing of an unmanned aircraft system from or on its public property except with respect to the operation of an unmanned aircraft system for commercial purposes.

(c) The state, through agency or departmental rules and regulations, may provide for or prohibit the launch or intentional landing of an unmanned aircraft system from or on its public property.

 

 

The Georgia House passed a resolution (HR 744) to create a committee to look into drones.  The committee issued their report on December 1, 2015.  The report listed out specifically 15 recommendations. While not law, it gives us a “flavor” as to what the Georgia House is thinking.

 

1. Continue to monitor FAA Regulations with regards to registration requirements of hobbyist operators. The committee does not want to duplicate the process or hinder the industry.

2. Form a commission made up of legislators, researchers, industry experts, and others deemed appropriate to help develop policy and encourage industry expansion within the state.

3. Continue to encourage our universities and technical colleges to find ways to get involved by offering classes, certifications, or any other opportunities that may be deemed necessary.

4. Encourage the state and its agencies to use drone technology in areas where it could provide a cost savings or improve safety.

5. Look for opportunities to encourage venture capitalists to help with startups in Georgia.

6. Protect citizen privacy by making it unlawful to video or photograph another person’s property without permission with limited exceptions to this.

7. Prohibit weaponizing a drone. 8. Make it a violation to fly in or around certain locations such as the capitol.

9. Allow local governments to restrict the use of drones on their publically owned land.

10. Make it unlawful to fly around or to interfere with an emergency scene or to interfere with public safety personnel carrying out official duties.

11. Require law enforcement to have a search warrant to use drones in areas to collect evidence where someone has a reasonable expectation of privacy.

12. Require any videos or photos taken of private property by a government entity without evidentiary value to a specific case to be purged.

13. Make it unlawful to take off from or to recover a drone from private or public property without permission.

14. Prohibit use of drones for hunting and fishing or to use a drone to interfere with someone else that is hunting, fishing, or trapping.

15. Prohibit the use of drones within so many feet of a public road without permission.

The Governor of Georgia issued on November 2nd, 2016 an executive order “That a Commission on Unmanned Aircraft Technology appointed by the Governor is hereby created to make state-level recommendations to the Governor consistent with current FAA regulations as well as the State’s business and public safety interests.”

The Governor appointed to the commission:

  • David Vigilante, Legal Senior Vice President, CNN
  • Christopher Davidson, State Archivist/Assistant Vice Chancellor, Georgia Archives, Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia
  • Jacob Hinton, Partner, Flyover Services LLC
  • Lewis Massey, Partner, Massey, Watson & Hembree LLC
  • Michael Wall, VP of Government and Regulatory Affairs, Comcast (Georgia)
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Connecticut Drone Laws (2017)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Traveling? Click here to see other US drone laws by state.

 Current as ofJuly 1, 2017

Public Act No. 17-52

AN ACT CONCERNING MUNICIPALITIES AND UNMANNED AIRCRAFT.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Assembly convened:

Section 1. (NEW) (Effective from passage) (a) As used in this section, “commercial unmanned aircraft” means an aircraft operated remotely by a pilot in command holding a valid remote pilot certificate with a small unmanned aircraft systems rating issued by the Federal Aviation Administration.

(b) No municipality shall enact or enforce an ordinance or resolution that regulates the ownership, possession, purchase, sale, use, transportation or operation of any commercial unmanned aircraft or otherwise regulate the ownership, possession, purchase, sale, use, transportation or operation of such aircraft, except as otherwise authorized by state and federal law, and to the extent they do not conflict with policies and procedures adopted by the Connecticut Airport Authority. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, any municipality that is also a water company, as defined in section 25-32a of the general statutes, may enact and enforce ordinances or resolutions that regulate or prohibit the use or operation of private and commercial unmanned aircraft over such municipality’s public water supply and Class I or Class II land, as described in section 25-37c of the general statutes, provided such ordinances or resolutions do not conflict with federal law or policies and procedures adopted by the Connecticut Airport Authority.

Approved June 13, 2017

 

Connecticut General Assembly committee issued a report in 2014 on Drone Use Regulation. It is best to read this report as it details how many Connecticut laws could apply to drones. Keep in mind this was done in 2014 so some laws could have changed.

 

Additionally, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection created a page on remote controlled model aircraft or drones letting them know that their use is “prohibited at Connecticut State Parks, State Forests or other lands under the control of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, unless specifically authorized by the Commissioner in a Special Use License.” The page also mentions that noise, hazards, wildlife disruption regulations could apply.

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Oregon Drone Laws (2017)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Traveling? Click here to see other US drone laws by state.

 Current as of February 21, 2017

Oregon passed HB 4066, HB 2710, HB 2354, and HB3047. The Oregon Revise Statutes were published in 2015 so many of the updates below are NOT included yet in the 2015 revised statutes. Oregon will be publishing them again in 2017 with the amendments. I attempted to add the amendments from  HB 4066 and HB 3047 into the text below.

Section 164.885

(1) A person commits the crime of endangering aircraft in the first degree if the person knowingly:

. . . . .

(4) As used in this section:

(a) “Aircraft” does not include an unmanned aircraft system as defined in ORS 837.300.

(b) “Restricted access area” means an area of a commercial service airport that is:

(A) Designated as restricted in the airport security program approved by the federal Transportation Security Administration; and

(B) Marked at points of entry with signs giving notice that access to the area is restricted

Section Undefined (Passed as law but waiting on location to where it is to be added between 837.300-390)

Reckless interference with aircraft; penalty. A person commits a Class A violation if the person possesses or controls an unmanned aircraft system and recklessly causes the unmanned aircraft system to:

(1) Direct a laser at an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air;

(2) Crash into an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air; or

(3) Prevent the takeoff or landing of an aircraft.

Section Undefined (Passed as law but waiting on location to where it is to be added between 837.300-390)

Policies and procedures for use of data.

(1) A public body that operates an unmanned aircraft system shall establish policies and procedures for the use, storage, accessing, sharing and retention of data, including but not limited to video and audio recordings, resulting from the operation of the unmanned aircraft system.

(2) The public body shall post the following information on the public body’s website or otherwise make the following information available to the public:

(a) The policies and procedures established under this section.

(b) The text of ORS 192.501.

(3) The policies and procedures established under this section must include:

(a) The length of time data will be retained by the public body.

(b) Specifications for third party storage of data, including handling, security and access to the data by the third party.

(c) A policy on disclosure of data through intergovernmental agreements.

Section 837.300

(1) “Aircraft” has the meaning given that term in ORS 836.005.

(2) “Law enforcement agency” means an agency that employs peace officers, as defined in ORS 133.005, or that prosecutes offenses.

(3) “Public body” has the meaning given that term in ORS 174.109.

(4) “Unmanned aircraft system” means an unmanned flying machine, commonly known as a drone, and its associated elements, including communication links and the components that control the machine.

(5) “Warrant” means a warrant issued under ORS 133.525 to 133.703

 

837.310 Restrictions; exceptions. 

(1) Except as otherwise provided in ORS 837.310 to 837.345, a law enforcement agency may not operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system.

(2) Any image or other information that is acquired through the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement agency in violation of ORS 837.310 to 837.345, and any evidence derived from that image or information:

(a) Is not admissible in, and may not be disclosed in, a judicial proceeding, administrative proceeding, arbitration proceeding or other adjudicatory proceeding; and

(b) May not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed. [2013 c.686 §2; 2015 c.315 §2]

 

837.320 Authorized use upon issuance of warrant; exigent circumstances. 

(1) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, if:

(a) A warrant is issued authorizing use of an unmanned aircraft system; or

(b) The law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime, is committing a crime or is about to commit a crime, and exigent circumstances exist that make it unreasonable for the law enforcement agency to obtain a warrant authorizing use of an unmanned aircraft system.

(2) A warrant authorizing the use of an unmanned aircraft system must specify the period for which operation of the unmanned aircraft system is authorized. In no event may a warrant provide for the operation of an unmanned aircraft system for a period of more than 30 days. Upon motion and good cause shown, a court may renew a warrant after the expiration of the 30-day period. [2013 c.686 §3; 2015 c.315 §3]

 

837.330 Written consent. 

A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system for the purpose of acquiring information about an individual, or about the individual’s property, if the individual has given written consent to the use of an unmanned aircraft system for those purposes. [2013 c.686 §4; 2015 c.315 §4]

837.335 Search and rescue; use in emergencies. 

(1) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, for the purpose of search and rescue activities, as defined in ORS 404.200.

(2) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, for the purpose of assisting an individual in an emergency if:

(a) The law enforcement agency reasonably believes that there is an imminent threat to the life or safety of the individual, and documents the factual basis for that belief; and

(b) Not more than 48 hours after the emergency operation begins, an official of the law enforcement agency files a sworn statement with the circuit court that describes the nature of the emergency and the need for use of an unmanned aircraft system.

(3) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, during a state of emergency that is declared by the Governor under ORS chapter 401 if:

(a) The unmanned aircraft system is used only for the purposes of preserving public safety, protecting property or conducting surveillance for the assessment and evaluation of environmental or weather related damage, erosion or contamination; and

(b) The unmanned aircraft system is operated only in the geographical area specified in a proclamation pursuant to ORS 401.165 (5). [2013 c.686 §5; 2015 c.315 §5]

 

837.340 Criminal investigations. 

(1) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, for the purpose of reconstruction of a specific crime scene or accident scene, or similar physical assessment, related to a specific criminal investigation.

(2) The period that a law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system under this section may not exceed five days for the purpose of reconstruction of a specific crime scene, or similar physical assessment, related to a specific criminal investigation.

837.345 Training. 

(1) A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system for the purpose of training in:

(a) The use of unmanned aircraft systems; and

(b) The acquisition of information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system.

(2) Any image or other information that is acquired through the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement agency under this section, and any evidence derived from that image or information:

(a) Is not admissible in, and may not be disclosed in, a judicial proceeding, administrative proceeding, arbitration proceeding or other adjudicatory proceeding; and

(b) May not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed.

 

837.360 Restrictions; civil penalties; registration; fees; rules. 

(1) A public body may not operate an unmanned aircraft system in the airspace over this state without registering the unmanned aircraft system with the Oregon Department of Aviation.

(2) The Oregon Department of Aviation may impose a civil penalty of up to $10,000 against a public body that violates subsection (1) of this section.

(3) Evidence obtained by a public body through the use of an unmanned aircraft system in violation of subsection (1) of this section is not admissible in any judicial or administrative proceeding and may not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed.

(4) The Oregon Department of Aviation shall establish a registry of unmanned aircraft systems operated by public bodies and may charge a fee sufficient to reimburse the department for the maintenance of the registry.

(5) The Oregon Department of Aviation shall require the following information for registration of an unmanned aircraft system:

(a) The name of the public body that owns or operates the unmanned aircraft system.

(b) The name and contact information of the individuals who operate the unmanned aircraft system.

(c) Identifying information for the unmanned aircraft system as required by the department by rule.

(6) A public body that registers one or more unmanned aircraft systems under this section shall provide an annual report to the Oregon Department of Aviation that:

(a) Summarizes the frequency of use of the unmanned aircraft systems by the public body

during the preceding calendar year;

(b) Summarizes the purposes for which the unmanned aircraft systems have been used by the public body during the preceding calendar year; and

(c) Indicates how the public can access the policies and procedures established under section 7 of this 2016 Act.

(7) The State Aviation Board may adopt all rules necessary for the registration of unmanned aircraft systems in Oregon that are consistent with federal laws and regulations.

Section 9 of HB4066 said:

(1) Section 7 of this 2016 Act and the amendments to ORS 837.360 by section 8 of this 2016 Act become operative on January 1, 2017.

(2) A public body may take any action before the operative date specified in subsection (1) of this section that is necessary to enable the public body to exercise, on and after the operative date specified in subsection (1) of this section, all the duties, functions and powers conferred on the public body by section 7 of this 2016 Act and the amendments to ORS 837.360 by section 8 of this 2016 Act.

837.365 Weaponized unmanned aircraft systems. 

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a person may not intentionally, knowingly or recklessly operate or cause to be operated an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of firing a bullet or projectile or otherwise operate or cause to be operated an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that causes the system to function as a dangerous weapon as defined in ORS 161.015.

(2)

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class A misdemeanor.
(b) If the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly operates an unmanned aircraft system to fire a bullet or projectile or otherwise operates an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that causes the system to function as a dangerous weapon as defined in ORS 161.015, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class C felony.
(c) If the person intentionally, knowingly or recklessly operates an unmanned aircraft system to fire a bullet or projectile or otherwise operates an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that causes the system to function as a dangerous weapon as defined in ORS 161.015, and the operation of the unmanned aircraft system causes serious physical injury to another person as both terms are defined in ORS 161.015, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B felony.

(3) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply if:

(a) The person uses the unmanned aircraft system to release, discharge, propel or eject a nonlethal projectile for purposes other than to injure or kill persons or animals;
(b) The person uses the unmanned aircraft system for nonrecreational purposes in compliance with specific authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration;
(c) The person notifies the Oregon Department of Aviation, the Oregon State Police and any other agency that issues a permit or license for the activity requiring the use of the unmanned aircraft system of the time and location at which the person intends to use an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of releasing, discharging, propelling or ejecting a projectile at least five days before the person uses the system;
(d) If the person intends to use an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of releasing, discharging, propelling or ejecting a projectile in an area open to the public, the person provides reasonable notice to the public of the time and location at which the person intends to use the unmanned aircraft system; and
(e) The person maintains a liability insurance policy in an amount not less than $1 million that covers injury resulting from use of the unmanned aircraft system.

(4) The notification requirement of subsection (3)(c) of this section does not apply to:

(a) A career school licensed under ORS 345.010 to 345.450;
(b) A community college as defined in ORS 341.005;
(c) An education service district as defined in ORS 334.003;
(d) The Oregon Health and Science University;
(e) A public university listed in ORS 352.002; or
(f) An institution that is exempt from ORS 348.594 to 348.615 under ORS 348.597 (2).

(5) Notwithstanding subsection (3) of this section, a person may not use an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of releasing, discharging, propelling or ejecting a projectile for purposes of crowd management.

837.375 Interference with an unmanned aircraft system; unauthorized control. 

In addition to any other remedies allowed by law, a person who intentionally interferes with, or gains unauthorized control over, an unmanned aircraft system licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, or operated by the Armed Forces of the United States as defined in ORS 352.313, an agency of the United States or a federal, state or local law enforcement agency, is liable to the owner of the unmanned aircraft system in an amount of not less than $5,000. The court shall award reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing plaintiff in an action under this section.

837.380 Owners of real property; Attorney General.

(1) Except as provided in subsections (2) and (3) of this section, a person who owns or lawfully occupies real property in this state may bring an action against any person or public body that operates an unmanned aircraft system that is flown over the property if:

(a) The operator of the unmanned aircraft system has flown the unmanned aircraft system over the property on at least one previous occasion; and

(b) The person notified the owner or operator of the unmanned aircraft system that the person did not want the unmanned aircraft system flown over the property.

(2) A person may not bring an action under this section if:

(a) The unmanned aircraft system is lawfully in the flight path for landing at an airport, airfield or runway; and

(b) The unmanned aircraft system is in the process of taking off or landing.

(3) A person may not bring an action under this section if the unmanned aircraft system is operated for commercial purposes in compliance with authorization granted by the Federal Aviation Administration. This subsection does not preclude a person from bringing another civil action, including but not limited to an action for invasion of privacy or an action for invasion of personal privacy under ORS 30.865.

(4) A prevailing plaintiff may recover treble damages for any injury to the person or the property by reason of a trespass by an unmanned aircraft system as described in this section, and may be awarded injunctive relief in the action.

(5) A prevailing plaintiff may recover attorney fees under ORS 20.080 if the amount pleaded in an action under this section is $10,000 or less.

(6) The Attorney General, on behalf of the State of Oregon, may bring an action or claim for relief alleging nuisance or trespass arising from the operation of an unmanned aircraft system in the airspace over this state. A court shall award reasonable attorney fees to the Attorney General if the Attorney General prevails in an action under this section.

837.385 Preemption of local laws regulating unmanned aircraft systems. 

Except as expressly authorized by state statute, the authority to regulate the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems is vested solely in the Legislative Assembly. Except as expressly authorized by state statute, a local government, as defined ORS 174.116, may not enact an ordinance or resolution that regulates the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems or otherwise engage in the regulation of the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems.

837.390 Applicability. 

ORS 837.300 to 837.390 and 837.995 and section 11, chapter 686, Oregon Laws 2013, do not apply to the Armed Forces of the United States as defined in ORS 352.313.

837.990 Penalties. 

(1) Except as otherwise provided in this section and subject to ORS 153.022, a person commits a Class A violation if the person violates any provision of this chapter or any rule adopted, or order issued, under this chapter.

(2) The offense described in ORS 837.080, prohibited operation of an aircraft, is a Class B misdemeanor.

Undefined Section in Chapter 837.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a person may not operate an unmanned aircraft system over the boundaries of privately owned premises in a manner so as to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly harass or annoy the owner or occupant of the privately owned premises.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement agency under ORS 837.335.

(3)

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B violation.

(b) If, at the time of the offense, the person has one prior conviction under this section, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class A violation.

(c) If, at the time of the offense, the person has two or more prior convictions under this section, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

(d) If the court imposes a sentence of probation for a violation under paragraph (c) of this subsection, the court may order as a condition of probation that the person may not possess an unmanned aircraft system.

164.885 Endangering aircraft. 

(1) A person commits the crime of endangering aircraft in the first degree if the person knowingly:

 (a) Throws an object at, or drops an object upon, an aircraft;

 (b) Discharges a bow and arrow, gun, airgun or firearm at or toward an aircraft;

 (c) Tampers with an aircraft or a part, system, machine or substance used to operate an aircraft in such a manner as to impair the safety, efficiency or operation of an aircraft without the consent of the owner, operator or possessor of the aircraft; or

(d) Places, sets, arms or causes to be discharged a spring gun, trap, explosive device or explosive material with the intent of damaging, destroying or discouraging the operation of an aircraft.

(2)(a) Except as provided in paragraph (b) of this subsection, a person commits the crime of endangering aircraft in the second degree if the person knowingly possesses a firearm or deadly weapon in a   restricted access area of a commercial service airport that has at least 2 million passenger boardings per calendar year.

(b) Paragraph (a) of this subsection does not apply to a person authorized under federal law or an airport security program to possess a firearm or deadly weapon in a restricted access area.

(3) (a) Endangering aircraft in the first degree is a Class C felony.

(b) Endangering aircraft in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

(4) As used in this section, “restricted access area” means an area of a commercial service airport that is:

(a) Designated as restricted in the airport security program approved by the federal Transportation Security Administration; and

(b) Marked at points of entry with signs giving notice that access to the area is restricted.

 

Note: 164.885 was enacted into law by the Legislative Assembly but was not added to or made a part of ORS chapter 164 or any series therein by legislative action. See Preface to Oregon Revised Statutes for further explanation.

Section 837.995 Crimes involving unmanned aircraft systems; penalties. 

(1) A person commits a Class A felony if the person possesses or controls an unmanned aircraft system and intentionally causes, or attempts to cause, the unmanned aircraft system to:

(a) Fire a bullet or other projectile at an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air;

(b) Direct a laser at an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air; or

(c) Crash into an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air.

(2) A person who intentionally interferes with, or gains unauthorized control over, an unmanned aircraft system licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, or operated by the Armed Forces of the United States as defined in ORS 352.313, an agency of the United States or a federal, state or local law enforcement agency, commits a Class C felony.

Section 837.998 Civil penalties. 

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, in addition to any other penalty provided by law, the Director of the Oregon Department of Aviation may impose a civil penalty not to exceed $720 for each violation of any provision of this chapter or any rule adopted, or order issued, under this chapter.

(2) The director may impose a civil penalty not to exceed $2,500 for violation of ORS 837.080 or any rule adopted, or order issued, under this chapter to enforce ORS 837.080.

(3) The director shall impose civil penalties under this section in the manner provided in ORS 183.745.

Undefined Section in Chapter 837.

(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, a person may not operate an unmanned aircraft system over the boundaries of privately owned premises in a manner so as to intentionally, knowingly or recklessly harass or annoy the owner or occupant of the privately owned premises.

(2) Subsection (1) of this section does not apply to the use of an unmanned aircraft system by a law enforcement agency under ORS 837.335.

(3)

(a) Except as provided in paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B violation.

(b) If, at the time of the offense, the person has one prior conviction under this section, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class A violation.

(c) If, at the time of the offense, the person has two or more prior convictions under this section, violation of subsection (1) of this section is a Class B misdemeanor.

(d) If the court imposes a sentence of probation for a violation under paragraph (c) of this subsection, the court may order as a condition of probation that the person may not possess an unmanned aircraft system.

Section 163.700.

(1) Except as provided in ORS 163.702, a person commits the crime of invasion of personal privacy in the second degree if:

(a)

(A) For the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of the person, the person is in a location to observe another person in a state of nudity without the consent of the other person; and

(B) The other person is in a place and circumstances where the person has a reasonable expectation of personal privacy; or

(b)

(A) The person knowingly makes or records a photograph, motion picture, videotape or other visual recording of another person’s intimate area without the consent of the other person; and

(B) The person being recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy concerning the intimate area.

(2) As used in this section and ORS 163.701:

(a) “Intimate area” means nudity, or undergarments that are being worn by a person and are covered by clothing.

(b) “Makes or records a photograph, motion picture, videotape or other visual recording” includes, but is not limited to:

(A) Making or recording or employing, authorizing, permitting, compelling or inducing another person to make or record a photograph, motion picture, videotape or other visual recording.

(B) Making or recording a photograph, motion picture, videotape or other visual recording through the use of an unmanned aircraft system as defined in ORS 837.300, even if the unmanned aircraft system is operated for commercial purposes in compliance with authorization granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

(c) “Nudity” means any part of the uncovered or less than opaquely covered:

(A) Genitals;

(B) Pubic area; or

(C) Female breast below a point immediately above the top of the areola.

(d) “Places and circumstances where the person has a reasonable expectation of personal privacy” includes, but is not limited to, a bathroom, dressing room, locker room that includes an enclosed area for dressing or showering, tanning booth and any area where a person undresses in an enclosed space that is not open to public view.

(e) “Public view” means that an area can be readily seen and that a person within the area can be distinguished by normal unaided vision when viewed from a public place as defined in ORS 161.015.

(f) “Reasonable expectation of privacy concerning the intimate area” means that the person intended to protect the intimate area from being seen and has not exposed the intimate area to public view.

(3) Invasion of personal privacy in the second degree is a Class A misdemeanor.

 

Section Undefined (Passed as law but waiting on location to where it is to be added between 837.300-390)

(1) As used in this section, “critical infrastructure facility” means any of the following facilities, if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if marked with a sign conspicuously posted on the property that indicates that entry is forbidden:

(a) A petroleum or alumina refinery;

(b) An electrical power generating facility, substation, switching station or electrical control center;

(c) A chemical, polymer or rubber manufacturing facility;

(d) A water intake structure, water treatment facility, wastewater treatment plant or pump station;

(e) A natural gas compressor station;

(f) A liquid natural gas terminal or storage facility;

(g) A telecommunications central switching office;

(h) A port, railroad switching yard, trucking terminal or other freight transportation facility;

(i) A gas processing plant, including a plant used in the processing, treatment or fractionation of natural gas;

(j) A transmission facility used by a federally licensed radio or television station;

(k) A steelmaking facility that uses an electric arc furnace to make steel;

(L) A dam that is classified as a high hazard by the Water Resources Department;

(m) Any portion of an aboveground oil, gas or chemical pipeline that is enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders; or

(n) A correctional facility or law enforcement facility.

(2) Except as provided in subsection (3) of this section, a person commits a Class A violation if the person intentionally or knowingly:

(a) Operates an unmanned aircraft system over a critical infrastructure facility at an altitude not higher than 400 feet above ground level; or

(b) Allows an unmanned aircraft system to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility, including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility.

(3) This section does not apply to:

(a) The federal government.

(b) A public body.

(c) A law enforcement agency.

(d) A person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of the federal government, a public body or a law enforcement agency.

(e) An owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility.

(f) A person who has the prior written consent of the owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility.

(g) The owner or occupant of the property on which the critical infrastructure facility is located.

(h) A person who has the prior written consent of the owner or occupant of the property on which the critical infrastructure facility is located.

(i) A person operating an unmanned aircraft system for commercial purposes in compliance with authorization granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.

Section 498.128

(1) The State Fish and Wildlife Commission shall adopt rules prohibiting the use of drones for the following purposes related to the pursuit of wildlife:

(a) Angling;

(b) Hunting;

(c) Trapping;

(d) Aiding angling, hunting or trapping through the use of drones to harass, track, locate or scout wildlife; and

(e) Interfering in the acts of a person who is lawfully angling, hunting or trapping.

(2) Rules adopted to carry out the prohibitions provided for in this section may include exemptions for:

(a) Subject to ORS 837.360 [and 837.365], the State Department of Fish and Wildlife and the department’s agents and contractors for the use of drones in carrying out the duties of the department; or

(b) The use of drones in a manner otherwise prohibited under this section if the purpose of the use is to benefit wildlife management or habitat or for the protection of property.

(3) Nothing in this section is meant to limit the use of drones by a person who is lawfully engaging in activities authorized under the commercial fishing laws.

(4) As used in this section, “drone” means:

(a) An unmanned flying machine;

(b) An unmanned water-based vehicle; or

(c) Any other vehicle that is able to operate in the air, in or under the water or on land, either remotely or autonomously, and without a human occupant.

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How the 21st Century AIRR Act Affects Drones

21st-Century-AIRR-Act-Affects-Drones

The scope of this is ONLY for unmanned aircraft since that is what my business is about. :)

The title of the bill is “21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act’’ and has multiple provisions for unmanned aircraft.

I’ll outline below the major provisions for each of the areas. I’ll continue to update this as I read through the documents.

 

 

GENERAL

  • Calls for the creation of a non-profit corporation called American Air Navigation Services Corporation.
  • “The Secretary shall transfer operational control over air traffic services within United States airspace and international airspace delegated to the United States to the Corporation on the date of transfer in a systematic and orderly manner that ensures continuity of safe air traffic services.”
  • Individuals who use air traffic services are assessed a fee.
  • AIR TRAFFIC SERVICES.— “The term ‘air traffic services’ means services (A) used for the monitoring, directing, control, and guidance of aircraft or flows of aircraft and for the safe conduct of flight, including communications, navigation, and surveillance services and provision of aeronautical information; and  (B) provided directly, or contracted for,  by the FAA before the date of transfer.”
  • ‘‘(12) UTM.—The term ‘UTM’ means an unmanned aircraft traffic management system or service.”
  • “(b) PREEMPTION.—A State, political subdivision of a State, or political authority of at least 2 States may not enact or enforce a law, regulation, or other provision having the force and effect of law related to air traffic services.”
  • This act cleans up Sections 331-336 from the FMRA of 2012. It also puts it in the United States Code in Title 49, Chapter 455.

ADVISORY BOARD

  • The advisory board advising the non-profit corporation shall have on it unmanned aircraft operators and unmanned aircraft manufacturers.

Questions:

  • Does this also include community based organizations like the Academy of Model Aeronautics?

 

UTM

  • “[T]he Federal Aviation Administration shall initiate a rulemaking to establish procedures for issuing air navigation facility certificates pursuant to section 44702 to operators” of UTM for unmanned aircraft operations.
  • While the regulations are getting created, the FAA shall determine shall determine, at a minimum, which types of UTM and low-altitude CNS, if any, as a result of their operational capabilities, reliability, intended use, and areas of operation, and the characteristics of the aircraft involved, do not create a hazard to users of the national airspace system or the public.”
  • The DOT shall “provide expedited procedures for reviewing and approving UTM or low-altitude CNS operated to monitor or control
    aircraft operated primarily or exclusively in airspace above—(1) croplands; (2) areas other than congested areas; and (3) other areas in which the operation of unmanned aircraft poses very low risk.

 

OPERATION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT

  • Provides for a risk-based permitting process. One interesting thing is when the FAA is evaluating the operations, it SHALL look at 8 elements, 1 of which says, “Any history of civil penalties or certificate actions by the Administrator against the applicant seeking the permit.”
  • The permit lasts for 5 years.
  • This permit is completely separate from Part 107.
  • Tells the FAA to shall establish a “procedure for granting an exemption and issuing a certificate of waiver or authorization for the operation of a small unmanned aircraft system[.]”  Where has the writer of this bill been the last couple of years? It then goes on to list an exemption like and reference “Exemption No. 11687, issued on May 26, 2015, Regulatory Docket Number FAA–2015-0117, or in a subsequent exemption[.]”  This exemption was of the 2nd generation of exemptions (remember “closed set” filming) and it doesn’t make sense why they cited this one and not a post march 15, 2016 exemption which was better. But it does say “or in a subsequent exemption” so it ultimately doesn’t matter but I found that interesting

MODEL AIRCRAFT

  • Upholds the protections of Section 336 regarding model aircraft flyers but DOES allow the FAA to create a registration system for model aircraft.
  • The Section 336 provisions, which used to be 5 elements, now includes the requirement that the drone cannot fly over a fixed site facility that “operates amusement rides available for use by the general public or the property extending 500 lateral feet beyond the perimeter of such facility unless the operation is authorized by the owner of the amusement facility[.]”
  • Commercial education of unmanned aircraft falls into the protections for model aircraft.
  • The new language defines what a community based organization is 501(c)(3), is exempt from tax under 501(a), “mission of which is demonstrably thefurtherance of model aviation[,]” provides programming and support local charter organizations, affiliates, or clubs, etc….
  • Tells the FAA to create within 180 days of passage a process for recognizing a community based organization.

 

PACKAGE DELIVERY

  • Creates a small UAS air carrier certificate for property transport.

 

COMPTROLLER GENERAL STUDY

• “the Comptroller General of the United States shall initiate a study on appropriate fee mechanisms to recover the costs of— (1) the regulation and safety oversight of unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems; and (2) the provision of air navigation services to unmanned aircraft and unmanned aircraft systems.”

 

PUBLIC AIRCRAFT

  • Allows Indian tribes to obtain public aircraft status using unmanned aircraft. What about manned aircraft?

HUH?

  • ‘‘(g) EFFECTIVE PERIODS.—An exemption or certificate of waiver or authorization issued under this section, or an amendment of such exemption or certificate, shall cease to be valid on the effective date of a final rule on small unmanned aircraft systems issued under section 45502(b)(1).”  I have no clue what in the world this mean since Section 45502 is really the “updated” version of Section 332 of the FMRA of 2012 and was finally fulfilled by the FAA in the creation of Part 107 in August 29th, 2016.
  • In Section 434, it says, ” It is the sense of Congress that …..the unauthorized operation of unmanned aircraft near airports presents a serious hazard to aviation safety; ……91.126 through 91.131 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, prohibit unauthorized operation of an aircraft in controlled airspace near an airport ……Federal aviation regulations, including section 91.13 of title 14, Code of Federal Regulations, prohibit the operation of an aircraft in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger the life or property of another.”   Why are they citing Part 91 when unmanned aircraft operate under Part 107? Yes, I know Section 333 exemption operations are under Part 91 but this is like some weird hold over from the pre-107 days.

Drone Innovation Act of 2017 (HR 2930)

Brief Summary:

The Drone Innovation Act of 2017 was introduced by Representative Jason Lewis on June 16, 2017. It was referred to the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. This bill is similar to Senator Feinstein’s Drone Federalism Act recently introduced in that it seeks to clarify this murky area of how states and local governments can regulate unmanned aircraft.  I don’t know how far this bill will go because it has provisions that many will love and other provisions they will hate.

My Thoughts:

The FAA has created a drone advisory committee to study out this very issue and present consensus recommendations. I think the wisest thing to do would be to wait until those consensus recommendations are completed. When it comes to chopping up the airspace, I think we should take the advice of my grandfather when he taught me about woodworking: “measure twice, cut once.”

Notable Points of the Drone Innovation Act:

  • “[T]he Secretary of Transportation shall, after consultation with State, local, and Tribal Officials, and other appropriate stakeholders, publish a civil unmanned aircraft local operation policy framework[.]”
  • The policy framework required shall “provide guidelines to aid States, local and Tribal governments and, to the degree possible, standardizing reasonable time, manner, and place limitations and other restrictions on operations of civil and small unmanned aircraft that are local in nature[.]”
  • “In crafting the policy framework and in prescribing any future regulations or standards related to civil unmanned aircraft systems, the Secretary of Transportation shall define the scope of the preemptive effect of any civil unmanned aircraft regulations or standards pursuant to section 40103 or 41713 of title 49, United States Code.”
  • “In formulating and implementing the policy framework required pursuant to subsection (a) and any future regulations, policies or standards related to civil unmanned aircraft systems, the Secretary shall abide by and be guided by the following fundamental principles” list in 11 section. (I think this sort of acts like an Executive Order 12,866 for drone regulations).
  • The Secretary of the DOT shall enter into a pilot program with 20-30 State, local, or Tribal governments to provide technical assistance to such governments in regulating the operation of small and civil unmanned aircraft systems.
  • “In prescribing regulations or standards related to civil or small unmanned aircraft systems, the Secretary shall not authorize the operation of small or civil unmanned aircraft in airspace local in nature above property where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy without permission of the property owner.”
  • “[N]o cause of action, claim or remedy may be made solely because of the transit of an unmanned aircraft through airspace local in nature over private property in the absence of proof that such transit substantially interfered with the owner or lessee’s use or enjoyment of the property or repeatedly transited the airspace local in nature above the owner’s property.”
  • “[T]he Secretary shall not issue any rule or regulation that impedes or operates contrary to the authority of the State, local, or Tribal government to define private property rights as it applies to unmanned aircraft in the airspace above the property that is” 200ft above ground level and below and within the lateral boundaries of a State, local or Tribal government’s jurisdiction.
  • “A State or local government may not unreasonably or substantially impede the ability of a civil unmanned aircraft, from reaching the navigable airspace.” Examples include: outright bans, excessively large prohibitions, a combination of restrictions that have the practical effect of unreasonably impeding.
  • “Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent an operator or pilot from operating a small or civil unmanned aircraft over their own property, right of way, easement, lands, or waters.”

Who Supports the Drone Innovation Act:

  • Representative Jason Lewis (MN-02) (He introduced it).
  • Representatives Brownley (D-CA-26)
  • Representative Rokita (R-IN-04)
  • Representative Garamendi (D-CA-03)

Those Who Objected to the Drone Federalism Act:

The Drone Federalism Act is similar to this act in that it attempts to answer the question of how can states and local governments regulate unmanned aircraft. 13 organizations sent a letter to lawmarkers speaking out against the Drone Federalism Act and said “lawmakers should wait until efforts such as the FAA’s Drone Advisory Committee (DAC) have created consensus recommendations – with input from stakeholders – before considering changes to longstanding federal governance of the NAS. Legislating changes before consensus is reached may have dramatic unintended consequences that could stifle innovation, restrict economic growth and interstate commerce, and potentially compromise safety.” I think these organizations will react to this bill in a very similar way. These organizations include:

  • Brian Wynne, President and CEO of Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International
  • Gary Shapiro, President and CEO of Consumer Technology Association
  • Mark R. Baker, President and CEO of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association
  • Rich Hanson, President of Academy of Model Aeronautics
  • Robin Rorick, Group Director, of American Petroleum Institute
  • Melissa Lyttle, President of National Press Photographers Association
  • Matthew S. Zuccaro, President and CEO of Helicopter Association International
  • Edward M. Bolen, President and CEO of National Business Aviation Association
  • Jim Goldwater, Director of Legislative & Regulatory Affairs of National Association of Tower Erectors
  • Lisa Ellman & Gretchen West, Co-Executive Directors of Commercial Drone Alliance
  • Kara Calvert, Executive Director of Drone Manufacturers Alliance
  • Peter F. Dumont, President and CEO of Air Traffic Controller Association
  • Michael Drobac, Executive Director of Small UAV Coalition
  • Trish Gilbert, Executive Vice-President of National Air Traffic Controllers Association

Pros:

  • It does say a state or local government may not unreasonably or substantially impede the ability of a civil unmanned aircraft, from reaching the navigable airspace which is great. This section could be made much better by actually including some language saying that if the drone flyer is successful in winning a lawsuit against the state or local government that their attorney fees would be awarded.
  • The state, local, and tribal governments will create laws to crack down on the unsafe drone flyers. I don’t know many will go all the way so as to say operating contrary to Part 107 is unsafe for the public.
  • It does not have the language that Senator Feinstein had regarding restrictions that could go laterally 200ft.
  • The FAA could be broad in preempting things and divest the states, local, and tribal governments from regulating in many areas. The FAA loves to do regulatory land grabs. Just see the Taylor v. FAA case.

Cons:

  • Section 3(d) is going to slow down the rulemaking process even further for future drone regulations to figure out this new problem. The FAA is choked bad enough with Section 336, President Trump’s Executive Order (2 for 1 deal), and their limited human resources to get out the over people, night, and extended line of sight operation regulations out. They won’t want a repeat of the Taylor case by doing things sloppy.
  • “Secretary shall not authorize the operation of small or civil unmanned aircraft in airspace local in nature above property where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy without permission of the property owner.” This 200ft “floor” will push drone aircraft further up into the national airspace which will be a problem when operating in urban environments with large amounts of aircraft in the area. Part 107 requires airspace authorizations to fly in controlled airspace, there is a lot near major cities, and the operating altitude gets lower the closer you get to the airport. This means the operational envelope for drone operations in urban environments for drone delivery (like Amazon drone delivery) will be much smaller if they have to be above 200ft while staying low enough to not interfere with manned aircraft. See my article on Amazon Drone Delivery and the legal issues they face.
  • This has the net effect of pushing more operations above 200ft. Helicopter pilots, do you like that?

Questions Left Unanswered:

  • “[T]he Secretary of Transportation shall, after consultation with State, local, and Tribal Officials, and other appropriate stakeholders, publish a civil unmanned aircraft local operation policy framework in the Federal Register.” How in the world is going to happen in 6 months??!?!?!

 

Section 1. SHORT TITLE

This Act may be cited as the “Drone Innovation Act of 2017”.

Section 2. DEFINITIONS

In this Act the following definitions apply:

(1) CIVIL AIRCRAFT. – The term “civil aircraft” with respect to an unmanned aircraft system, means that the unmanned aircraft is not a public aircraft as defined in a section of 40102 of title 49, United States Code.
(2) LOCAL GOVERNMENT. – The term “local government” means a unit of government that is a subdivision of a State, such as a city, county, or parish.
(3) LOCAL OPERATION. – The terms “local operation” and “local in nature” refer to flights or portions of civil unmanned aircraft that occur in airspace –

(A) Up to 200ft above ground level; and
(B) The lateral boundaries of a State, local or Tribal government’s jurisdiction

(4) SMALL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT. – The term “small unmanned aircraft” has the same meaning as such term is defined in section 331(5) of the FAA Reform and Modernization Act of 2012.
(5) STATE. – The term “State” means each of the several States, the District of Columbia, and the territories and possession of the United States.
(6) TRIBAL GOVERNMENT. – The term Tribal Government” means the governing body of an Indian Tribe (as defined in section 4 the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act (25 U.S.C. 5304)).

Section 3. CIVIL UNMANNED AIRCRAFT POLICY FRAMEWORK

(a) IN GENERAL – Not later than 6 months after the date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall, after consultation with State, local, and Tribal Officials, and other appropriate stakeholders, publish a civil unmanned aircraft local operation policy framework in the Federal Register.
(b) CONTENTS. – The policy framework required pursuant to subsection (a) shall –

(1) provide guidelines to aid States, local and Tribal governments in harmonizing and, to the degree possible, standardizing reasonable time, manner, and place limitations and other restrictions on operations of civil and small unmanned aircraft that are local in nature;
(2) take into account the economic and non-economic benefits, such as civic or educational uses, of small or civil unmanned aircraft operations;
(3) provide guidelines to aid States, local, and Tribal governments in creating an environment that is hospitable to innovation and fosters the rapid integration of unmanned aircraft into the national airspace system; and
(4) aid States, local, and Tribal governments in adopting technologies, such as unmanned traffic management systems, that will enable notification to operators regarding reasonable time, manner, and place limitations on operations of civil and small unmanned aircraft that are local in nature.

(c) ANALYSIS – In crafting the policy framework and in prescribing any future regulations or standards related to civil unmanned aircraft systems, the Secretary of Transportation shall define the scope of the preemptive effect of any civil unmanned aircraft regulations or standards pursuant to section 40103 or 41713 of title 49, United States Code. Such regulations or standards shall be limited to the extent necessary to ensure the safety and efficiency of the national airspace system for interstate commerce, and shall preserve the legitimate interests of State, local, and Tribal governments, including-

(1) protecting public safety;
(2) protecting personal privacy;
(3) protecting property rights;
(4) managing land use; and
(5) restricting nuisances and noise pollution.

(d) LIMITATIONS. – In formulating and implementing the policy framework required pursuant to subsection (a) and any future regulations, policies or standards related to civil unmanned aircraft systems, the Secretary shall abide by and be guided by the following fundamental principles:

(1) Any limitation on small or civil unmanned aircraft should be consistent with maintaining the safe use of the navigable airspace and the legitimate interests of State, local, and Tribal governments.
(2) Innovation and competition are best served by a diverse and competitive small and civil unmanned aircraft systems industry.
(3) Any limitation on small or civil unmanned aircraft should not create an unreasonable burden on interstate or foreign commerce.
(4) The operation of small and civil unmanned aircraft systems that are local in nature have more in common with terrestrial transportation than traditional aviation.
(5) As it relates to the time, manner, and place of unmanned aircraft local operations, and the need to foster innovation, States, local, and Tribal governments uniquely possess the constitutional authority, the resources, and the competence to discern the sentiments of the people and to govern accordingly.
(6) Relying upon technology solutions, such as unmanned traffic management, provided by private industry, will effectively solve policy challenges.
(7) State, local and Tribal officials are best positioned to make judgements and issue dynamic limitations around events, including, fires, accidents and other first responder activity, public gatherings, community events, pedestrian thoroughfares, recreational activities, cultural activities, heritage sites, schools, parks and other inherently local events and locations, which may justify limiting unmanned aircraft activity that is local in nature while balancing the activities or events against the need for innovation.
(8) The economic and non-economic benefits, of small and civil unmanned aircraft operations may be best achieved by empowering the State, local, and Tribal governments to create a hospitable environment to welcome innovation.
(9) Innovation and competition in the unmanned aircraft industry are best served by enabling State, local, and Tribal governments to experiment with a variety of approaches to policies related to unmanned aircraft.
(10) The Department of Transportation shall, when making policy related to small or civil unmanned aircraft systems, recognize that problems that are merely common to the State, local, and Tribal governments will not justify Federal action because individual State, local and Tribal governments, acting individually or together, can effectively deal with such problems and may find and implement more innovation friendly policies than Federal agencies.
(11) The Department shall, when making policy related to small or civil unmanned aircraft systems, provide timely information and assistance to State, local, and Tribal governments that will ensure collaboration.

Section 4. PILOT PROGRAM ON FEDERAL PARTNERSHIPS

(a) IN GENERAL – Not later than 9 months after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Secretary of Transportation shall enter into agreements with not less than 20 and not more than 30 State, local, or Tribal governments to establish pilot programs under which the Secretary shall provide technical assistance to such governments in regulating the operation of small and civil unmanned aircraft systems, including through the use of the latest available technologies for unmanned traffic management, notice, authorization, and situational awareness with respect to reasonable time, manner, and place limitations and restrictions pursuant to section 3.

(b) SELECTION – In selecting among State, local and Tribal governments for purposes of establishing pilot programs under subsection (a), the Secretary shall seek to enter into agreements with –

(1) Governments that vary their size and intended approach to regulation of small and civil unmanned aircraft systems;
(2) Governments that demonstrate a willingness to partner with technology providers and small and civil unmanned aircraft operators; and
(3) At least 2 of each of the following: State governments, county governments, city governments, and Tribal Governments.

(c) UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS TRAFFIC MANAMAGEMENT SYSTEM. – The Secretary shall coordinate with the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to ensure that participants in pilot programs established under subsection (a) are consulted in the development of the unmanned aircraft systems traffic management system under Section 2208 of the FAA Extension, Safety, and Security Act of 2016 (Public Law 114-190, 49 U.S.C. 40101 note) and the pilot program under section (b) of such section.

(d) REPORT REQUIRED. – Not later than 18 months after establishment of the pilot programs required by subsection (a), the Secretary shall coordinate with pilot program participants to submit to Congress, and make available to the public, a report identifying best practices for State, local, and Tribal governments to regulate the operation of small and civil unmanned aircraft systems and to collaborate with the Federal Aviation Administration with respect to the regulation of such systems.

Section 5. PRESERVATION

(a) RIGHTS TO PRIVACY. – In prescribing regulations or standards related to civil or small unmanned aircraft systems, the Secretary shall not authorize the operation of small or civil unmanned aircraft in airspace local in nature above property where there is a reasonable expectation of privacy without permission of the property owner.
(b) CAUSES OF ACTION, CLAIMS, AND REMEDIES –

(1) IN GENERAL. – Nothing in this section shall be construed to preempt, displace, or supplant any Federal, State, or Tribal common law rights or any Federal, State, or Tribal statute or common law right creating a remedy for civil relief, including those for civil damages, or a penalty for a criminal law.
(2) CAUSE OF ACTIONS UPHELD. – Nothing in this section shall preempt or preclude any cause of action for personal injury, wrongful death, property damage, inverse condemnation, trespass, nuisance or other injury based on negligence, strict liability, products liability, failure to warn, or any other legal theory of liability under any maritime law, or any Federal, State, or Tribal common law or statutory theory, except that no cause of action, claim or remedy may be made solely because of the transit of an unmanned aircraft through airspace local in nature over private property in the absence of proof that such transit substantially interfered with the owner or lessee’s use or enjoyment of the property or repeatedly transited the airspace local in nature above the owner’s property.

(c) PRIVATE AIRSPACE. – Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Secretary shall not issue any rule or regulation that impedes or operates contrary to the authority of the State, local, or Tribal government to define private property rights as it applies to unmanned aircraft in the airspace above the property that is local in nature.
(d) RIGHTS TO OPERATE. – A State or local government may not unreasonably or substantially impede the ability of a civil unmanned aircraft, from reaching the navigable airspace. Unreasonable or substantial impeding of a civil unmanned aircraft reaching the navigable airspace includes —-

(1) Outright bans on overflights of the entirety of the lateral boundaries of a State or local government’s jurisdiction;
(2) Excessively large prohibitions on overflights of areas of local significance such that access to airspace is so impeded as to make a flight within the lateral boundaries of a State or local government’s jurisdiction nearly impossible; and
(3) A combination of restrictions intended to unreasonably impede or having the practical effect of unreasonably impeding the ability of a civil unmanned aircraft from reaching the navigable airspace.

(e) RIGHT OF WAY. – Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent an operator or pilot from operating a small or civil unmanned aircraft over their own property, right of way, easement, lands, or waters.

SECTION 6 STATUTORY CONSTRUCTION.

(a) JUDICIAL REVIEW. – An action taken by the Secretary of Transportation under any of sections 3-5 is subject to judicial review as provided under section 46110 of title 49, United States Code.
(b) CIVIL AND CRIMINAL JURISDICTION. – Nothing in this Act (including the amendments made by this Act) may be construed to diminish or expand the civil or criminal jurisdiction of –

(1) Any Tribal Government relative to any State or local government; or
(2) Any State or local government relative to any Tribal Government.

(c) LIMITATION. – Nothing in this Act (including the amendments made by this Act) may be construed to –

(1) Affect manned aircraft operations or the authority of the Federal Aviation Authority (in this section referred to as “FAA”) with respect to manned aviation;
(2) Affect the right of the FAA to take emergency action, including the right to issue temporary flight restrictions;
(3) Affect the right of the FAA to pursue enforcement action against unsafe aircraft operators; and
(4) Affect the right of first responders to access airspace in the event of an emergency.


Colorado Drone Laws (2017)

NOTICE: This article is for information purposes only!  This article is ONLY for state laws that are DRONE specific. Local laws and “aircraft” related laws could potentially apply and were outside of the focus of this article. It might NOT be up to date. You should seek out a competent attorney licensed in the state you are interested in before operating.

Traveling? Click here to see other US drone laws by state.

 Current as of June 19, 2017

24-33.5-1228. Colorado firefighting air corps – creation – powers – aircraft acquisitions required – center of excellence – unmanned aircraft systems study and pilot program – Colorado firefighting air corps fund – creation – report – rules.

……..

(2.5)

(c)

(I) IN ADDITION TO PERFORMING THE FUNCTIONS DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2.5)(b) OF THIS SECTION, UPON RECEIVING SUFFICIENT MONEY IN THE FORM OF GIFTS, GRANTS, AND DONATIONS, THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE SHALL CONDUCT A STUDY CONCERNING THE INTEGRATION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS WITHIN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS THAT RELATE TO CERTAIN PUBLIC-SAFETY FUNCTIONS. AT A MINIMUM, THE STUDY MUST:

(A) IDENTIFY THE MOST FEASIBLE AND READILY AVAILABLE WAYS TO INTEGRATE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS TECHNOLOGY WITHIN LOCAL AND STATE GOVERNMENT FUNCTIONS RELATING TO FIREFIGHTING, SEARCH AND RESCUE, ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION, CRIME SCENE DOCUMENTATION, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, AND EMERGENCIES INVOLVING SIGNIFICANT PROPERTY LOSS OR POTENTIAL FOR INJURY OR DEATH; AND

(B) FOR EACH APPLICATION OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS THAT THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE IDENTIFIES PURSUANT TO SUBSECTION (2.5)(c)(I)(A) OF THIS SECTION, INCLUDE CONSIDERATION OF PRIVACY CONCERNS, COSTS, AND TIMELINESS OF DEPLOYMENT.

(II) NOT LATER THAN ONE MONTH AFTER COMPLETING THE STUDY DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2.5)(c)(1) OF THIS SECTION, THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE SHALL SUBMIT A REPORT DESCRIBING THE RESULTS OF ITS STUDY TO THE WILDFIRE MATTERS REVIEW COMMITEE CREATED IN SECTION 2-3-1602 AND THE HOUSE AGRICULTURE, LIVESTOCK, AND NATURAL RESOURCES COMMITTEE AND THE SENATE AGRICULTURE, NATURAL RESOURCES, AND ENERGY COMMITTEE, OR ANY SUCCESSOR COMMITTEES. THE REPORT MUST ADDRESS EACH ITEM DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2.5)(c)(I) OF THIS SECTION, AS WELL AS THE RESULTS OF THE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM PILOT PROGRAM DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2.5)(d) OF THIS SECTION.

(d)

(I) As PART OF THE STUDY DESCRIBED IN SUBSECTION (2.5)(c)(I) OF THIS SECTION, UPON RECEIVING SUFFICIENT MONEY IN THE FORM OF GIFTS, GRANTS, AND DONATIONS, ON AND AFTER THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF THIS SECTION, THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE SHALL OPERATE AN UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM PILOT PROGRAM, REFERRED TO WITHIN THIS SECTION AS THE “PILOT PROGRAM”, TO INTEGRATE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS WITHIN STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS THAT RELATE TO CERTAIN PUBLIC-SAFETY FUNCTIONS.

(II) As PART OF THE PILOT PROGRAM, THE DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY SHALL DEPLOY AT LEAST ONE TEAM OF UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM OPERATORS TO A REGION WITHIN THE STATE THAT HAS BEEN DESIGNATED BY THE DIVISION AS A FIRE HAZARD. THE PILOT PROGRAM MUST TRAIN THE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM OPERATORS TO OPERATE UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEMS IN VARIOUS CONTEXTS RELATING TO FIREFIGHTING, SEARCH AND RESCUE, ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION, CRIME SCENE DOCUMENTATION, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT, AND EMERGENCIES INVOLVING SIGNIFICANT PROPERTY LOSS OR POTENTIAL FOR INJURY OR DEATH. UNMANNED AIRCRAFT SYSTEM OPERATORS MAY BE COMPENSATED BY THE CENTER DURING THEIR TRAINING.

(III) IN OPERATING THE PILOT PROGRAM, THE CENTER OF EXCELLENCE SHALL NOT INTERFERE WITH ANY ACTIVE WILDFIRE SUPPRESSION EFFORT UNLESS THE CENTER IS GRANTED PERMISSION TO ASSIST IN SUCH EFFORT BY A SUPERVISING AGENCY WITH THE AUTHORITY TO GRANT SUCH PERMISSION

……….

(3)

(a) The division shall administer the Colorado firefighting air corps fund, which fund is hereby created in the state treasury. The division MAY seek and accept gifts, grants, reimbursements, investments, bond revenues, sales proceeds, commissions for services, sponsorships, advertising fees, licensing fees, profits, or donations from private or public sources for the purposes of this section. The fund consists of all MONEY that may be appropriated to the fund by the general assembly, and all private and public funds received through gifts, grants, reimbursements, investments, bond revenues, sales proceeds, commissions for services, sponsorships, advertising fees, licensing fees, profits, or donations that are transmitted to the state treasurer and credited to the fund. All interest earned from the investment of MONEY in the fund IS credited to the fund. The MONEY in the fund Is continuously appropriated for the purposes indicated in SUBSECTION (3)(c) OF THIS SECTION. Any MONEY not expended at the end of the fiscal year REMAINS in the fund.

(b) The general assembly finds that the implementation of this section does not rely entirely on the receipt of adequate funding through gifts, grants, or donations. Therefore, the division is not subject to the notice requirements specified in section 24-75-1303 (3).

(c) The division shall use the MONEY in the Colorado firefighting air corps fund for the PURPOSES OF SUBSECTION (2.5) OF THIS SECTION AND FOR PAYING THE direct and indirect costs of maintaining the Colorado firefighting air corps, including expenses associated with acquisition, retrofitting, labor, equipment, supply, transportation, air, mobilization, repair, maintenance, and demobilization.

Code of Colorado Regulations  406-0 #004 – AIDS IN TAKING WILDLIFE 

C. It shall be unlawful to use a drone to look for, scout, or detect wildlife as an aid in the hunting or taking of wildlife.

1. For the purposes of this regulation, drone shall be defined as including, without limitation, any contrivance invented, used or designed for navigation of, or flight in the air that is unmanned or guided remotely. A drone may also be referred to as “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” (UAV) or “Unmanned Aerial Vehicle System” (UAVS).

 

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